MEMPHIS, Tenn. — University of Memphis fraternity members are accused of using derogatory language at a charity event Friday evening.
The annual charity event, Pi Phi Karaoke, is hosted by the Pi Beta Phi sorority. According to the sorority’s website, the event is to raise money for children’s literacy. Participants do a “karaoke skit” and a speed read competition.
According to U of M sophomore Jessika Williams, one of the fraternities performed a song that had the n-word in it several times.
I am so embarrassed and upset. Not that I’m super surprised, but if it is that easy for you to say that word so comfortably as an accident then there are some MAJOR problems. And to completely dismiss it afterwards and not take it seriously is almost as bad.
— Abby H (@ahubes1023) March 17, 2018
Williams said she addressed other members of the fraternity who performed the song, but they where uncooperative. She also says she spoke with members of Pi Beta Phi who told her that “they told them not to say and that they have been disqualified.”
The university released a statement Saturday regarding the incident.
“The University of Memphis was made aware of allegations involving racial and bigoted language exhibited by a fraternity member at a student event. Racism and bigotry will not be tolerated. All allegations are currently being thoroughly investigated, and if found to be accurate, immediate steps will be taken to address the behavior with the individual, local chapter and national organization. The University of Memphis takes seriously all such behavior and has the strongest of commitments to continuing efforts to educate our campus community.”
Williams says, as a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, a campus leader and a student, she finds the alleged incident “unacceptable.”
Other students have also expressed their disappointment in the event on social media.
There is a silent protest planned by students from 10 to 11 a.m. on Monday and the Student Leadership and Involvement is hosting a critical conversation at 7 p.m. at the UC Theatre.
Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) will also host a Critical Conversation on Monday at 7 pm in the UC Theatre. The event is open to all students and any members of a fraternity or sorority.
— Raven (@rizzyraeee) March 17, 2018