Home>Articles>Rep. Harley Rouda’s College Fraternity Held Vietnam-Themed ‘Mekong Delta’ Frat Parties 


Harley Rouda political ad to Vietnamese community. (Photo: screen capture youtube)

Rep. Harley Rouda’s College Fraternity Held Vietnam-Themed ‘Mekong Delta’ Frat Parties 


‘Students who sat out the war on deferments, now celebrate a human slaughter with a beer blast’

By Katy Grimes, June 22, 2020 4:43 pm

Rep. Harley Rouda’s calls to end systemic racism in the United States, and his aggressive push to court veterans and Orange County’s Vietnamese community might appear disingenuous after photos surfaced of Rouda’s college fraternity hosting “Mekong Delta” parties during Rouda’s time in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the University of Kentucky.

Rouda (D-48) has represented’s California’s 48th Congressional District since 2018.

The Delta Tau Delta fraternity party “Mekong Delta” refers to the Mekong River Delta, over 15,000 square miles in Southwestern Vietnam where towns were ravaged and hundreds of thousands died during the Vietnam War.

The photos shown below were all taken during the University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s Mekong Delta parties held between 1980-1984, and were found on the alumni chapter Facebook page.

University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s Mekong Delta parties. (Photo: Facebook)
University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s Mekong Delta parties. (Photo: Facebook)

These parties were not specific to the University of Kentucky Delta Tau Delta chapter,  and were an annual event at Delta Tau Delta chapters across the country.

Several letters to the editor were written by students and veterans during Rouda’s time in the University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta chapter, slamming the fraternity as ignorant and crass not only toward Vietnamese immigrants but also toward U.S. veterans who fought in Vietnam.

University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s Mekong Delta parties. (Photo: Facebook)
University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s Mekong Delta parties. (Photo: Facebook)

One letter to the editor from 1983 in the University of Kentucky’s school newspaper, Kentucky Kernel, describes the Mekong Delta parties as ironic since it “does not escape us that students on college campuses, and fraternity and sorority members by extension sat out the war on deferments leaving the actual fighting to blacks, Hispanics and whites with neither money nor connections. We are thus not surprised that these same kind of people now celebrate a human slaughter with a beer blast.”

Newspaper clipping
from University of Kentucky’s archives.

Another letter to the editor in the Kentucky Kernel from 1983 written by a U.S. Navy veteran criticizing the frat party suggests, a “Dachau or Auschwitz party” might be more appropriate “for the coming social season.” He goes on to say, “Perhaps the Delta Tau Delta group would consider channeling their party energy into throwing a benefit…to aid Indochina refugees in this country who are struggling to forget all that occurred in the Mekong Delta.”

Rouda graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1984. On January 5, 2018, the University of Kentucky Delta Tau Delta alumni chapter congratulated Rouda on being sworn into office.

In 2019, Rouda released a statement in recognition of Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s Mekong Delta parties. (Photo: screen capture Facebook)

“I am proud to join the Vietnamese-Americans of Orange County as they celebrate Tết, and welcome the Year of the Pig. The community of Vietnamese heritage has enriched our whole community, and the 48th district would be unrecognizable without their contributions. In the spirit of the Year of the Pig, I wish our community prosperity and good fortune.

“For some in our community, that wish is often elusive. Let us take this year as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment in service to one another to work toward the health and happiness of all our community members.”

Rouda has referred to President Trump and other Trump administration officials as “ignorant” about race issues in the United States.

Rouda has also criticized President Trump for referring to COVID19 as the “China Virus,” and is currently running TV ads in Vietnamese targeting Orange County’s Vietnamese community.

The ads partially say, “There is a sickness called hate” and “at the same opposing racism.” Some say the Vietnamese TV ads have had the opposite of their intended effect in the Vietnamese community because some words were mispronounced.

According to the 2010 census — the most recent statistics available — there are more than 200,000 Vietnamese living in Orange County.

California Globe contacted Rouda’s campaign to give him an opportunity to weigh in. We asked why Rouda has not commented publicly on his attendance at the University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta Mekong parties, or if he regrets participating.

We also asked how does he square his more recent comments about the Vietnamese community, with his past actions, and noted there were numerous letters to the editor of the university newspaper, Kentucky Kernel, slamming the fraternity as ignorant and crass not only toward Vietnamese immigrants but U.S. veterans who fought in Vietnam.

We did not receive a response from Rouda or his campaign staff. 

More letters to the editor in the Kentucky Kernel about the University of Kentucky’s Delta Tau Delta’s “Mekong Delta” parties can be viewed below.

Newspaper clipping from University of Kentucky archives.
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14 thoughts on “Rep. Harley Rouda’s College Fraternity Held Vietnam-Themed ‘Mekong Delta’ Frat Parties 


  1. Uh oh. This is bad. I don’t think Harley Rouda will be able to ballot-harvest his way out of this one, will he?

  2. We live in Orange County, CA. My husband is an attorney and a former pilot and I have worked for two of the best District Attorneys this county has ever seen. For the past 11 and a half years we have been spied on, stalked and bullied by Alan L. Murphy, the former director of the John Wayne Airport, Barry Rondinella, the present director of John Wayne Airport and past director of LAX, OC Sheriff, Mission Viejo Fire Department, CalFire, former Chief of Police in Mission Viejo, Officer Binning, Jennifer Wilson, wife of an OC Sheriff officer, Camp Pendleton and every fire department, sheriff department and police department every single place we have gone in this state for eleven and a half years. They call their buddies and get them to stalk and bully us when they can’t. Gang mentality. We have found four other women who have been dealing with the same abuse of power here. There are probably hundreds. We have contacted every newspaper, journalist, politician, and not one of them lifted one finger on our behalf. The only person who has come to our aid, is Gavin Newsom. He has stopped the sleep deprivation we have suffered from Barry Rondinella flying jets over us all night long every night from LAX. Our airport closes at 10pm and opens at 7am. THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS HELPED US IS GAVIN NEWSOM. If you vote against him and the monsters in this state come after you, you will have no one to help you. Gavin Newsom is the only politician who comes to the aid of citizens who aren’t rich. Kamala Harris did nothing, Jerry Brown did nothing, Mimi Waters did nothing, Harley Rouda has done nothing, DA Spitzer has done nothing, Assemblyman Brough has done nothing, Cathy Schlict has done nothing, Patricia Kelly has done nothing. Gavin Newsom is the only one who helped. WE BEGGED HARLEY ROUDA TO JUST COME AND WATCH THE ABUSE. HE COULDN’T BE BOTHERED AFTER HAVING SOMEONE FROM HIS LAST CAMPAIGN EMAIL ME AND SAY HE WAS INTERESTED IN OUR ISSUE. BS. HARLEY ROUDA IS A CREEP AND LETS WOMEN BE HUNTED AND BULLIED TO DEATH HERE IN OC. THE MOST CORRUPT COUNTY IN CA. DON’T VOTE FOR HIM. HE WILL LET YOUR DAUGHTERS, WIVES, SISTERS, MOTHERS DIE BEFORE HE WILL LIFT A FINGER.

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