Education

Latino fraternity at WSU files racial bias report after sorority philanthropy event

A Latino-based fraternity has filed a bias incident report with Wichita State University after a member of another fraternity allegedly made racially motivated comments at a sorority philanthropy event.

The incident happened Saturday, when the other fraternity’s member “made a derogatory statement, which directly affected our brothers,” the Rho Beta chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“While the intent may not have been malicious, this incident has certainly impacted our chapter,” the statement continued. “The hateful actions paired with the complacency of those attending this event is unacceptable.”

The Latino-based fraternity did not elaborate on the nature of the statement, which was made during a Kappa-ture the flag tournament hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma. The event is an annual philanthropy by the sorority to benefit The Fundamental Learning Center.

“This or any other instance of intolerance or bias is unacceptable,” the sorority said in its own statement about the incident. “We strive to promote and demonstrate understanding and acceptance of all members of the Greek community in everything we do.”

The fraternity said it submitted a bias incident report to the university.

Teri Hall, WSU vice president of student affairs, said in a release that a fraternity member “made a derogatory comment that was directed at, heard by and was perceived as racially motivated by other fraternity members.

“No matter how the remark may have been intended, it was badly received and is not consistent with the norms of civility we want in our university and society.”

The bias reporting system is not intended to lead to punishment. Rather, it is in place for the university to respond through education and other means. The university is already working to incorporate diversity training for new greek members, Hall said.

The Student Involvement Office said on Facebook that it is committed to providing students with “an empowering experience within our community free from prejudice and discriminatory behavior.” Student Government Association leaders said in their own statement that the incident is both “disheartening” and “an opportunity for growth and education.”

In their release, Sigma Lambda Beta members said a lack of inclusion “is much larger than this singular incident,” and that they “will no longer attend, promote or support events and programs where we do not feel truly welcomed. This may include organizations within Interfraternal and Panhellenic Councils.”

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