George Mason Law School

Administration weighs in on mixers

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January 30, 2015

12:22 AM

Administrators responded to concern over a “Gangsters and Golfers” mixer between the Alpha Eta Chapter of the Sigma Pi Fraternity and the Beta Lambda Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, as well as a Phi Beta chapter of Kappa Delta Rho’s “War of Northern Aggression” party.

College of William and Mary President Taylor Reveley released a statement regarding the events.

“It is very disappointing that a number of students participated in parties over the past week that included racially insensitive themes and costumes,” Reveley said in an official statement. “When it comes to cultural understanding and civility on campus, we have more work to do. I hope and expect that we will proceed to do it along the lines sketched in my message to the campus last December. Student Affairs staff and others in the administration are talking with everyone involved with last week’s parties. It is important that we have direct, candid conversations about the damage done. A William & Mary community in which all are welcome and respected is crucially important.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 also released a statement on the incidents.

“Listening to our MLK speaker last night, I recognized that his message applies not just to our nation and to realizing the highest ideals of American democracy, but also, it applies more immediately, to us — to William & Mary and to the beloved community we dream of creating in our own time and place,” Ambler said in a statement. “In the context of last weekend’s student organization parties that featured racist costumes and offensive themes, I find myself returning to Dr. Hill’s call to ‘deep listening.’ When it comes to addressing difficult and painful social issues, there is indeed an abundance of talking and a dearth of deep listening. Meaningful dialogue requires both. My hope is that we each take seriously Dr. Hill’s challenge to talk less and listen more.”

After multiple attempts to contact the Interfraternity Council, the Alpha Eta Chapter of the Sigma Pi Fraternity, the Beta Lambda Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and the Phi Beta chapter of Kappa Delta Rho, all have declined to comment. The Panhellenic Council, however, responded.

“Unfortunately, Panhellenic Executive members were unable to attend the [‘The Dream: Post-Ferguson’] event last night due to the fact that we were in our standing weekly Executive Board meeting,” President of Panhellenic Council Blair Frazier ’15 said. “But because we understand the seriousness of this issue, we devoted our meeting time to brainstorming ways to move our community forward and create a more inclusive environment.”

This follows the apology released by Sigma Pi Executive Director Michael Ayalon.

Additionally, Executive Director of Kappa Delta Rho National Joseph Rosenberg placed the chapter on social suspension. Kappa Alpha Theta’s national directors have taken no action other than an investigation.

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About Author

  • K.J. Moran

K.J. Moran '18 is a Psychology and History major from Boston, Mass. She was previously News Editor and Associate News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @kj_moran.

  • Carlton Smith

    keep up the great work Kj! Action needs to be taken!

    • Fraternity Member

      What sort of action would you suggest, Carlton? So far, all I have seen are obnoxious, melodramatic “silence is violence” signs being posted all over campus, and social justice warriors – such as yourself – posting and commenting on Facebook. I would love to know how you think our community should move forward in a productive manner. If people are upset about these themes, fine. Unfortunately, what I have seen from those who are upset is not a measured response that attempts to bring all parties involved together, but rather than an emotionally charged knee-jerk reaction that is undermining any real progress.

      • Fraternity Member

        Brittney, you are incorrect about what happened in the wake of the Sigma Chi email last year. The IFC voted to mandate a yearly sexual assault prevention course for all fraternities on campus.

  • Bo

    “War of Northern Aggression” seems like an OK party theme to me considering Yankees burnt this school to the ground during the war.

  • Joe

    googe image “gangster” and what pops up is Italian mob bosses. This isn’t racist, it’s classist. Although you folks at the flat hat love to use racism as an igniting tool. Good work at propagating lies

    • Kyle

      So tired of seeing this defense. The theme itself was not inherently racist; depending on its interpretation, it could have been totally benign. The fact is that certain people attending the party interpreted the theme in a way that made it seem okay to show up in costumes associated with racial stereotypes, and to deny that is to deny that classism and racism very often intersect with one another. They should be held responsible for that.

    • Julie

      No one dressed up as an italian mob boss… You can’t separate classism from racism because there’s a huge racial discrepancy between classes in this country.

      http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/

  • Ladasha

    I am black. I don’t want to change that and I won’t. That being said I am only offended by the flat hat calling this harmless party a racially undertoned event. I trust my fellow students in saying that they didn’t aim to target any race, and I wish it stayed at that. Although the conversation is an important one, it brings a lot of negative media towards a school where I feel entirely welcomed and integrated.

    • stahp.

      You are white. Shut up.

  • Rachel

    Hoping the frat that used to have the Jim Jones Jungle Juice Jamboree stopped that one too. I was appalled when I learned of the mass deaths, especially of babies and young children in Guyana, and sickened to realized I had partied in college, mocking that tragedy. There’s nothing funny about the analogy “drinking the kook-aid.” It makes my blood boil when I hear that expression. (’95)

  • Ellie

    Surprised and sad that this is a story being reported about a greek system and sorority I was a part of. Proud that the Flat Hat continues to report on this serious and important issue.