The predominantly African American fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council pulled out of Greek Week events last week after members got word that a Delta Zeta sorority member had used a racial slur at the Greek Olympics.
Inella Ray, president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s Temple chapter, said the DZ member wanted to gather her fellow sorority members around her, so she said “come over here, ******.”
The incident was reported to Delta Zeta and Student Activities, Ray said.
At last week’s Greek Sing event, where Greek organizations gathered onstage at the Temple Performing Arts Center to show their musical skills, members of NPHC gathered onstage and held hands as Julia Crusor of Delta Sigma Theta read a statement to the audience, part of which is in a video posted on Instagram.
“This is very problematic,” said Crusor, who also serves as vice president of external affairs for Temple Student Government. “While the word was not used directly to a member of our council, we are beyond upset and hurt that this type of language is being used in this Greek body.”
The university, Temple Student Government and Delta Zeta’s national branch released statements on the incident.
The Temple statement called the use of the slur “unacceptable,” and indicated that the university was conducting an inquiry into the incident.
“Temple has addressed the issue with the Greek organization, which has taken strong action against the individual,” the statement read.
In a joint interview with Reginald Becton, vice president of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Ray said the NPHC Greek organizations decided to make the demonstration at Greek Sing to express dissatisfaction with the university’s and Delta Zeta’s responses.
Student Activities sent an email to the NPHC organizations saying that they were looking into the incident, but Ray said she feels the other Greek organizations and Temple students should have been notified too.
“We just felt that they were trying to get the issue in-house,” Ray said. “The initial email was only addressed to NPHC. We’re not the only black Greeks on this campus, we’re just predominantly black fraternities and sororities.”
Becton said he felt the issue was not addressed quickly enough, but NPHC waited a few days before responding to give “the campus a chance to do something, see the steps they’re going to take. Once we felt like the necessary steps were not taken, then we took matters into our own hands.”
The stage at Greek Sing provided a sizable platform, Ray said.
“We could have easily put the press release that we ran out to all the [organizations], but I feel they saw it more when we said, ‘We’re not going to stand for this, we’re not going to participate,’” Becton added. “Up until that minute we walked on stage, they thought we were still performing.”
A statement signed by Future TU leaders Ryan Rinaldi, Binh Nguyen and Brittany Boston, who will be inaugurated April 27, also condemned the use of the slur and encouraged those who experience discrimination to contact Temple Police or Student Conduct.
“We do not condone this incident nor any use of racial slurs or intolerance,” the statement read.
Nguyen, who is a Delta Zeta member, deferred comment to the sorority’s national headquarters, as did several other members.
A Delta Zeta representative could not confirm the name of the student who used the slur, but said in an email that she is no longer a member of the sorority. Ray and the Temple statement both indicated that the member in question served in the chapter’s leadership, but neither revealed her name.
Steve Bohnel and Joe Brandt can be reached at email@example.com.