Greek life representatives respond to controversy over event themes

A panel presented TED-talk style speeches on of free speech in the media followed by a discussion. FILE PHOTO / THE FLAT HAT

Interfraternity Council President Paul Naisbitt ’17 and Panhellenic President Blair Frazier ’16 released statements to the College of William and Mary’s Greek community on the W&M Greek Life blog Jan. 30 in response to controversy over the “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 the Phi Beta chapter of Kappa Delta Rho’s “War of Northern Aggression” party.

Naisbitt said that the racially insensitive themes and costumes at these events do not define Greek life at the College of William and Mary. He said that he encourages fraternity brothers to step forward with ideas on addressing the issue further.

“This is not the first time events like these occurred, and it probably won’t be the last,” Naisbitt said in the statement. “We have the opportunity to enact change to create the open and inclusive environment our values promote. We must reflect on how our actions are interpreted outside of Fraternity life.”

Frazier said that the Panhellenic Executive Board values diversity.

“While we have made strides towards achieving such an environment in years past, recent events have negatively [impacted] our entire community which has shown us that as a collective Panhellenic and Greek community, we have much room for improvement,” Frazier said in the statement.

She said that the Greek community is now obliged to educate members on issues like inclusivity.

“We now have the opportunity and obligation to engage in a discussion about inclusivity,” Frazier said in the statement. “It is a chance for us to examine how our actions can contribute to the marginalization of individuals and groups within our community and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes.”

The statements follow two days after College President Taylor Reveley and Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 released statements regarding these events.


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