The University of New Mexico chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority is facing scrutiny after a member apparently made racist comments during a Greek life welcome event for new members.
Students at the event reported the member mocking and talking about the speaker, who was black, according to KOAT.com.
“This situation, it is not an isolated situation,” the university’s Black Student Union Vice President Dannelle Kirven, told the news station.
Nick Morgan ,vice president of Black Brothers Cultivating Knowledge, recalled hearing the girl’s disparaging remarks.
“The girls that were sitting behind us said that you were giving me anxiety right now in a mocking, joking manner towards her when she was speaking,” Morgan said.
Other stereotypical remarks were made such as, “‘Black people, get away from me,’ and they repeated it more the once. ‘Black people stop wearing grills,'” according to Morgan.
Nieajua Gonzalez, UNM’s NAACP president, confronted the sorority member who she said admitted to saying the problematic comments, although she apparently didn’t “mean it like that.”
“I’m sorry, I said there is no way that you could have said that that was going to make it appropriate. Do you understand how offensive that is?” Gonzalez said.
The national branch of the sorority said that they were aware of the incident and has contacted members privately.
The sorority also released a statement noting,
“KKG values diversity and inclusion among our membership, and we encourage our members to promote and demonstrate an understanding of these values, both on the college campus and in the world community.”
However some students are asking for more commitment from the sorority.
“I think that they need to put more emphasis on an unconscious bias training for their members. They need to educate their members on how to interact with people of color,” Kirven said.
Meanwhile, university president Garnett Stokes released his own statement noting, “I have recently engaged with members of the Black Student Alliance and African American Student Services, and take to heart their concerns about our campus climate, and opportunities for improvement. Creating and sustaining a welcoming and respectful environment at UNM is a shared responsibility, that must be infused across both academic and social dimensions of campus life.”