University of Richmond suspends Kappa Sigma after members sing ‘I want to be a slave owner'
The Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended by the University of Richmond this week after a video that surfaced showed some of the organization's members performing a racist song. The fraternity’s national headquarters has suspended UofR’s chapter. In the video, fraternity members could be heard singing “The south will rise again” and ‘I want to be a slave owner.”
Condemning the event, the university’s president, Kevin Hallock, released a statement to the student body. “The behavior recorded in the video is shameful and despicable. I am appalled by what I have seen and heard,” Hallock said. “This is not who we are, nor who we aspire to be.”
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Some student, like one Shira Greer, said that Hallock’s words would not easily convince them. Greer, a member of the Black Student Coalition at the University of Richmond, said, "To say that this is not who we are is a lie, and I think we just wanted to call that out really clearly." The Black Student Coalition was established in response to the university's decision to retain the names of buildings that some students believe are racist.
Talking about the video, Greer said, "Just seeing them display that so comfortably and openly in that video is always somewhat disturbing. It’s not surprising because I think we know these sentiments exist among many members of our campus community.”
Hallock called on the university to treat people with respect. “The future for our university is bright, and so many people here are working so hard to create a community of belonging for all who study and work at UR. But it takes all of us, and we must do better,” Hallock said.
Greer said that things will become better only if the president takes action. Greer said that the coalition is calling on the removal of Ryland Hall and Mitchell-Freeman Hall from its buildings. “We are also continuing to push for the other demands as well for Black students, which include a multicultural house on campus and an endowed chair for Africana Studies that is upcoming,” Greer said.
Condemning the video, the Student Government Association from the university said that this is not an incident that is limited to Kappa Sigma. “The student governments are thoroughly disappointed and wanted to, again, denounce these actions on our campus community,” the SGA said. “This is not an instance limited to Kappa Sigma, as is evident by the past few months.”
“We want to make it clear that we are against the systems that continue to show themselves as perpetual agents in the normative culture of racism and other forms of hatred that have been apparent in the past few years. This video is just the latest in a series of abhorrent and unacceptable actions by members of our community,” the SGA said. The university confirmed that an investigation is pending, and it is trying to identify all the students who appeared in the video.