On the first day of Black History Month, students at Southern Connecticut State University reacted to what some say is an unfortunate display of insensitivity by one sorority against another.
In the last few days, a video appearing to show members of Omega Zeta Pi mocking the hand signals and gestures of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. has surfaced online and has been posted across social media.
Zeta Phi Beta was founded at Howard University in Washington in 1920 and is one of nine historically black fraternities and sororities that make up the Divine 9.
“Being in Greek life, you obviously learn about the history of D9 and what the significance is to the Black community and the history behind it. So to do something like that is really disrespectful,” said senior history major Marie Perez.
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Upset students and campus leaders said display is a direct insult to the storied black women's organization and members of all sororities and fraternities should know better.
“It was just very offensive to see another sorority would mock the values and traditions the other sorority would have,” said freshman Mark Jones Jr.
On Tuesday, SCSU released a statement saying that Omega Zeta Pi’s chapter at Southern is suspended immediately, pending an investigation by an independent party—a move that Zeta Phi Beta members called for when the video initially surfaced.
In that statement, SCSU president Joe Bertolino said:
“I have the greatest respect for Zeta Phi Beta, Inc.’s heritage and traditions and am deeply concerned about the pain that this incident has caused to their membership and that of other Multicultural Greek Organizations, as well as individuals of color across our campus community. I hope that the concrete steps taken by my administration will advance the immediate and systemic changes needed to better support and protect students of color on our campus and rebuild the lines of trust within our diverse community.”