UI greek council addresses ‘racist ideology’ in sorority member’s Instagram comments

After a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member made a racist comment on an Instagram post, the University of Iowa Panhellenic Council and the sorority chapter released statements to tout values of diversity.

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UI greek council addresses ‘racist ideology’ in sorority member’s Instagram comments

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

Roman Slabach

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

Roman Slabach

Roman Slabach

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

Katie Ann McCarver, News Editor

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The University of Iowa Panhellenic Council on Sunday said it is “taking immediate action” to address the circulation of a comment including racist ideology on Instagram that was posted by a University of Iowa Kappa Kappa Gamma member.

After a picture showing Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters dressed in white was posted on Instagram Oct. 5, a UI student and sorority member commented “join the kkk,” appearing to reference the Ku Klux Klan, in a screenshot of the post reviewed by The Daily Iowan. She then added in a separate comment, “I mean the kkg.” Both comments were screenshotted and circulated around Instagram.

The Beta Zeta Chapter of the sorority published a statement on social media Sunday condemning insensitive language.

“Kappa Kappa Gamma strongly values diversity and inclusion among our membership and we encourage our members to demonstrate an understanding of these values, both on the college campus and in the world community,” the chapter’s statement reads.

The statement said the sorority is committed to working with the UI to ensure that its members understand and uphold values of diversity in the future.

In their own statement regarding the racist comments at the UI, the Panhellenic Council stated that comments of this nature do not align with its values, and said members are held to the highest standards.

“As a Council, we will be assessing how to better educate our women on the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion with our Panhellenic community,” the statement reads. 

RELATED: UI works on Fraternity/Sorority Life strategic plan

While the statement said the council will not stand for “these unacceptable comments” and provided a list of resources for people affected, it did not directly name Kappa Kappa Gamma, nor did it identify the comments and the sorority member who posted the remarks. The statement did not identify what specific action the UI was taking to address the matter.

“This action has forced us to re-examine how we address these issues and how to prevent these intolerable situations from happening in the future,” the statement finished.

Other incidents of racism in fraternity/sorority life have made headlines around the nation.

In January, a video surfaced of an Oklahoma University Tri Delta member wearing a black face mask and using insensitive language — the sorority later stated that the student who posted the video was no longer a member. That same month, the Baylor University Pi Beta Phi came under fire for a video of members using the N-word.

In September, a president for the George Washington University Phi Sigma Sigma sorority posted on her Snapchat the front of a plantation gift shop with the caption “I wonder if they sell slaves.”

The UI greek system is undergoing a process to draft a strategic plan that serves as a guideline for creating positive culture change in Fraternity/Sorority Life, including making the greek community more inclusive in alignment with the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan. 

The plan has not yet been released to the public, but the UI has continued to receive feedback from the greek community on the plan this semester.

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