A sorority at Methodist University has been suspended after a member created a racist PowerPoint presentation that mocked and made fun of Black football players’ appearances.
Minyvonne Burke of NBC News reported that the school of 2,300, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, “suspended Alpha Delta Pi following outrage over a racist incident involving a sorority member critiquing the appearance of Black football players.”
WRAL-TV of Raleigh reported that during an official sisterhood event last week, a sorority member stood before a large group of her peers and pointed out features that she found unattractive on the students, such as their dreadlocks, noses and lips. Her “presentation” was even photographed and posted on social media, sparking immediate backlash and criticism when other students at the school — where more than a third of those enrolled identify as POC — realized what had been going on at the sorority house.
Officials at Methodist University quickly reacted when they heard about the incident, starting an investigation into what happened that evening and indefinitely suspending the sorority.
“We believe in action, and we are taking action,” the university said in a statement. “Last week, we immediately launched a thorough investigation of a reported incident. This week, the hearing process is already underway. We will complete the hearing process as soon as we can while also following our established protocols.”
In an interview with WRAL, Ja-Quez Harrell, a student and former football player, expressed what many on the campus were feeling, saying, “I don’t see why something along the lines of this is funny. I don’t see how it’s funny.”
While the school would not comment further on the situation, Chief Diversity Officer Quincy Malloy repeatedly expressed that the school would not tolerate this type of student behavior. “We abhor racism in any form on campus, and we immediately investigate all possible incidents of racism and act on them appropriately, as warranted by the facts,” Malloy said in a statement.
Methodist University President Stanley Wearden also told reporters he finds all incidents of racism, including what had just taken place at the school, “deeply offensive.”
“I am determined and committed to making this campus a safe and welcoming space for everyone, and I will continue to work for truth, virtue, justice, and love at MU,” Wearden said. “I believe in these principles to my core, and I will not rest until they are a reality for all people on our campus.”
Leaders from the national chapter of Alpha Delta Pi also condemned the incident after news of what had happened spread. The member responsible for the presentation was suspended, and the sorority said, “her continued participation is under evaluation, pending an investigation.”
The Alpha Delta Pi chapter at Methodist University was told to cease and desist from all activities and issued its own apology via the national sorority’s Twitter account.
Statement from the Theta Epsilon Chapter at Methodist University (3/3) pic.twitter.com/TBrbqLw3AB
— Alpha Delta Pi (@AlphaDeltaPi) September 23, 2021
In the statement, sorority members wrote, “We extend our sincerest apologies to the Methodist football team, the student body, the sisters of color in our chapter, university faculty and staff, and university alumni regarding racist comments that took place at our event on Sept. 14, 2021. We failed you, we failed the oath we made to Alpha Delta Pi, and we failed ourselves.
“We first failed when one of our members made racist comments. It’s deeply disturbing to realize we have not created the kind of chapter culture where racial jokes wouldn’t be welcome. Then we failed our values and community by not speaking up to stop it,” the statement continued. “This is bystander behavior, and we’re deeply embarrassed that despite knowing better, we didn’t do better.”
The sorority added that it believes the suspension is well-deserved and that its members plan to undergo diversity, equity and inclusion training “to educate all members and ensure that racism, microaggressions and discrimination are eradicated from our sisterhood.”
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