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Chicago nightclub to join students' anti-discrimination rally

Regis Murayi, right, is seen after he got rejected by a bar over his jeans, and Jordan Roberts wears Regis' jeans inside the bar.
Regis Murayi, right, is seen after he got rejected by a bar over his jeans, and Jordan Roberts wears Regis' jeans inside the bar.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Club accused of barring black Washington University students from entering
  • Senior class president says bar will participate in rally
  • Managers will be sent to diversity training
  • Students want to "turn this negative into a positive," president says

(CNN) -- A Chicago, Illinois, nightclub accused of barring six African-American students last week will participate in a rally against discrimination late next month, the senior class president of Missouri's Washington University said Wednesday.

Fernando Cutz, 21, said the group and Original Mother's in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood had reached an agreement that would also see the nightclub sponsoring four fundraisers and its managers attend diversity training classes.

"What we are looking to do is to turn this negative into a positive," the text of Cutz's remarks said. "To make sure that all of us learn from what happened to these six students in Chicago 10 days ago and that we move forward, together, in a productive manner. ...

"We would also like to show that the best way of fighting discrimination can be by reaching out and extending a helpful hand to those who need it," Cutz said at a news conference.

The club has also agreed to a private apology to the six students and a public apology to the senior class, which was in Chicago for a two-day class trip.

Video: Dress code or racism?
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The students complained to state and federal agencies after six African-American members from their senior class trip celebration were denied admission to the club on October 17.

Bar personnel cited dress code violations -- specifically baggy jeans -- in barring the African-American students, Cutz said.

At one point, a white student and a black student exchanged jeans to see what would happen. The white student was admitted while his classmate still was kept outside, Cutz said.

After the students' news conference, an attorney representing the club said the bar would be working with the students to fight discrimination and will issue an apology because they had a bad experience at Mother's.

But Brad Grayson said the club does not believe it discriminated against the group.

"There was no intention to admit white kids with baggy jeans and exclude black kids with baggy jeans," he told the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

In his remarks Wednesday, Cutz said the students wanted to avoid being "caught up in the hype" of the situation and "forget the values that we are truly fighting for."

Mother's representatives will speak at the rally, which will be held in in Chicago in late November, he said.

The celebration at Original Mother's had been arranged with the bar in advance by the student class board, which includes two of the African-American students who later were denied entry, Cutz said.

He said he was already inside the bar with some 200 other students, none of whom are African-American, when the first group of African-American classmates arrived. Cutz said he quickly learned that the manager of the bar had denied the six students entry, and he said the manager told the students their baggy pants violated the bar's dress code.

Cutz, who is white, said he confronted the manager. "These six [students] were better-dressed than I was," Cutz told CNN.

He told the students to "go back to the hotel and change." But the manager of the bar stepped in to say that he had made his decision and that the six men could not return to the bar even if they changed clothes, Cutz said.

The students became "more agitated" and "set up an experiment," Cutz said.

Class Treasurer Regis Murayi, who is black, exchanged jeans with a white student, Jordan Roberts, who -- being 3 inches shorter than Murayi -- looked "substantially baggy."

Roberts approached the same manager who had turned away the African-American students, paid the entry fee and was allowed in, Cutz said.

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Ross Leavitt contributed to this report.