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Penn State Students Criticize Pediatric Cancer Fundraiser for Not Being Diverse Enough

THON, an annual fundraiser at Penn State that raises money to help kids suffering from cancer, is too white according to some student leaders. {snip}

Jeanelle Loiseau, the chief of staff for the University Park Undergraduate Association and previous Black Caucus representative, went as far as to say that she “never felt safe” while attending the fundraiser, called THON.

“This was my first time ever going to THON because I never felt safe,” Loiseau wrote in the student newspaper the Daily Collegian. “I felt that I didn’t belong.”

“Seeing those involved with THON, I thought, ‘Where’s the diversity?’” the student continued. “As time passed, I came to the realization that THON wasn’t made for people of color.”

Loiseau went on to complain about the event being run by Greek life organizations, but not including “the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council,” which the student said predominately consist of racial minorities


The student also claimed that there was “known racism and discrimination,” citing an Instagram account “that would post anonymous submissions of students’ experiences on campus” and “expose multiple organizations with their lack of inclusion, THON being one of them.”

In one instance, Loiseau said, a black girl was allegedly told something about her “natural hairs.”


At the end of her open letter, Loiseau urged THON executives to implement an official name change, establish a separate “minority/multicultural THON organization,” and increase the amount of “POC” dancers, executive directors, captains and committee members.

Loiseau’s complaints about the THON fundraiser were also echoed by the editorial board of the Daily Collegian.

In a separate piece, the editorial board lamented that ” approximately 16% of its volunteers belonged to minoritized groups, with 2% being African Americans.”