Sorority at Methodist University apologizes for racist incident

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A Methodist University sorority apologized on Friday for its involvement last week in a racial incident that angered students and others and led to the group’s suspension from campus.

The apology from Alpha Delta Pi’s Theta Epsilon chapter appeared in a post on the Atlanta-based national organization’s Facebook page.

Addressed to the campus community, part of the apology read: “We missed you, we broke our oath we took to Alpha Delta Pi, and we ourselves failed.”

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The message states that the incident in question occurred on September 14. Among those to whom the apology is specifically addressed are “the football team, the student body” and “the colored sisters of our chapter”.

Alpha Delta Pi's Theta Epsilon chapter was suspended last week from Methodist University after a racist incident.  The chapter posted an apology on Friday, September 24, 2021 on the national organization's Facebook pages.

He continues: “We first failed when one of our members made racist comments. It’s deeply disturbing to realize that we haven’t created the kind of chapter culture where racial jokes wouldn’t be welcome. Then we failed our values ​​and our community by not speaking up to stop it. “

A post that went viral on Facebook and other social networks last week showed an Alpha Delta Pi member giving a presentation, with a screen behind her that showed four black Methodist soccer players and the words “Big nostrils “. According to testimonials on social media, she was talking about physical characteristics that she didn’t like. Many of these characteristics, including dreadlock hairstyles, are commonly associated with black people.

The Methodist University has suspended the Theta Epsilon chapter, pending the results of an investigation, and the chapter has been ordered to cease all activities on campus or any social media posting through the university. The section’s Facebook page has been removed.

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The national organization of Alpha Delta Pi has suspended the membership of the student who made the presentation as well as the chapter.

In a post that accompanied the local’s apology on Facebook, the national organization said “the process of evaluating its continued membership has begun; a full chapter investigation is also underway.

The national organization said members of Theta Epsilon had received threats.

His message continues: “We are working closely with the university administration to ensure the safety of our members in the face of recent threats, while verifying best practices in education, restorative justice and future ones. steps needed to ensure that if Alpha Delta Pi will exist on a campus, it will be a fraternity of inclusion and belonging.

Methodist University officials released five statements relating to the incident, including one on Friday by President Stanley Wearden, who has also addressed the issue in previous statements.

“The communication and action on racial healing will not end. Let’s all run towards rather than away from the challenge, ”Wearden wrote. “Let’s face it, learn from it, and grow fully in our commitment to righteousness, love, truth and righteousness.”

He continued, “Although punitive measures are the result of any fault, never allow it to be the only result. We are here to find out the truth in order to be a better people. ”

A student protest outside Wearden’s office and staged on social media did not materialize as expected on Wednesday. Wearden spoke to a few students who came outside Horner’s administration building, according to Brad Johnson, a spokesperson for the university.

Johnson said Wearden “met students individually and in groups on a daily basis, in his office and on campus, listening and sharing. Of course, the Director of Diversity, the Multicultural Affairs team, etc., also always have their doors wide open. “

He said the students had the opportunity to share and listen during the weekly campus CIRCUIT event, which takes place Wednesdays at the Sharon and Ron Matthews Ministry Center. A campus-wide event will also take place next week, he said.

Methodist Church steps in

The incident caught the attention of The United Methodist Church, which shares ties with the university.

Bishop Leonard E. Fairley wrote in a message to the hundreds of Conference churches in North Carolina that the university plays “a major role in our lives” and that “inappropriate and reprehensible racist action in l one of his sororities shook us all. “

“Our immediate prayers go out first to the student-athletes who have been injured and to the entire African American student body,” he wrote. “Second, we pray for the student responsible for this action. We pray that this incident serves as a foundational and transformative moment in their lives that makes them sensitive to the reality of how our words and actions can cause so much harm and hurt so many people. “

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Fairley said he spoke to Wearden and was impressed with the swift action taken by the school president and board. He said events reminded him of the importance of the church’s continued “anti-racism” efforts.

Fairley said he asked Wearden how the Methodist conference could be most helpful.

Wearden, he writes, “asked that we direct our frustrations towards constructive engagement. This engagement could include local anti-racism work, community development activities and personal reflection on our own prejudices.

A difficult road

Meanwhile, the difficult road ahead for the Theta Epsilon chapter was evident in many of the more than 70 comments in response to his post of apology on Friday afternoon.

One commentator appeared to favor a permanent separation between chapter members and Alpha Delta Pi.

“They can learn outside of ADPI,” she wrote. “They are adult women and they knew what they were doing. I don’t want to share letters with racists.

The comment had received 129 likes on Friday afternoon.

Opinion editor Myron B. Pitts can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3559.

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