A sorority at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, has been suspended “indefinitely” after a white member led a pageant-like presentation critiquing the looks of Black football players and comparing them to white athletes.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, an Alpha Delta Pi sorority member could be seen standing in front of a screen that showed photos of Black football players at the school in a PowerPoint presentation. According to The Fayetteville Observer, images of the athletes had captions such as “large nostrils” or “big lips.” The presentation also disapproved of locked hairstyles, with the Black athletes’ attractiveness rated in comparison to more white standards of beauty.
In a statement released Sept. 21, officials at the university condemned the stunt, saying the school “is committed to principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.”
“We abhor racism in any form on our campus, and we immediately investigate all possible incidents of racism and act on them appropriately, as warranted by the facts,” the statement reads.
“We believe in action and we are taking action. 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 addition, we have suspended Alpha Delta Pi sorority indefinitely, pending further investigation. Alpha Delta Pi has been told to cease and desist from all activities."
Alpha Delta Pi’s national chapter suspended the student who led the forum, and the school’s collegiate chapter has been disbanded.
A former Methodist University football player who was included in the presentation said that he received a direct message from the organizer of the event, in which she apologized for what happened.
“I will accept with full responsibility the punishment that is decided with this matter with the school. Again, I am truly sorry and did not mean for this to hurt anybody and it was not targeted at African Americans in any way. I can promise that,” she allegedly wrote.
Methodist University’s webpage for Greek organizations lists Alpha Delta Pi as the first sorority in the world that “forged the way for women in the fraternity system.” Though nationally founded in 1851, the sorority has been at the Methodist college since 2008. Members are known to take pride in being “the First and Finest.”
National Alpha Delta Pi spokeswoman Beth Wright wrote in a statement that headquarters “was outraged and deeply saddened to learn of the racist behavior of a member of our Theta Epsilon chapter at Methodist University. Her actions directly contradict the values of Alpha Delta Pi. Racism has no place in our sisterhood, and we will continue to work for inclusive spaces and restorative justice in our chapters, on our campuses, and in our communities.”
Wright said that the national organization is in the process of working with the university to determine what ultimately happened during the incident.