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USD investigates law school’s ‘Hawaiian Day’ advice

March 4, 2019

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — The University of South Dakota has launched an investigation into the Student Bar Association’s decision to change the name of its winter social event from “Hawaiian Day” to “Beach Day.”

The group said earlier it was changing the name because it was advised by law school administrators that it violated the school’s policy of inclusiveness. A law school student had raised concerns that handing out leis at the party could be culturally insensitive.

USD President Sheila Gestring said in a statement this weekend that the investigation will focus on the actions of the interim administration of the law school. Gestring says the investigation will determine whether those actions violated Board of Regents policies on freedom of expression.

She says administrative censorship of student speech and expression is a serious matter and not something USD condones.

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