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Sunday, October 5, 2014

To AEPi Fraternity and the Greater Emory Community:

To AEPi Fraternity and the Greater Emory Community:

I would like to take the time to address the incident involving the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity house. As we all know by now, the AEPi fraternity house was the target of crude, offensive graffiti, including swastikas, early Sunday morning, Oct. 5.
Since this discovery, the act of vandalism has been called "abhorrent", an "insensitive display of prejudice," "crude," "offensive" "egregious" and "an attack against everything for which Emory stands." I couldn't agree more.

On that note, what I am about to say is absolutely NOT meant to offend anyone, but I am hoping that this incident can open a greater dialogue in the Emory Community.

I am upset, not only about this incident, but because I've seen this before. I've witnessed offensive statements and racial prejudice on Emory's campus, but I've never --in my four years there--seen a university-wide response like this to a incident with any other marginalized community on campus.

For instance, on Monday, April 24, 2012 during a men’s intramural volleyball championship between Beta Theta Pi fraternity and a team made up of predominantly Asian-American students, Beta fans cheered, "“USA! USA! USA!” with their fists pumping in the air as they chanted again and again. How did the university respond? They didn't. Instead, the Asian-American students were told they were too "sensitive" and that "it wouldn't be an issue if you won. stfu." Read the article and the comments here.

Or what about the African American community. President Wagner's racially insensitive 3/5th Compromise comments, the removal of two African American Greek organizations for violations White Greek organizations get slaps on the wrist for, the Dooley Show "lynching" joke, the removal of the Black Student Alliance house, Black students getting turned away from parties or being told "you need to know someone" in order to get in, and the classic "Black male, hooodie, and blue jeans" Emory Alert criminal profiles.

My point? There are SEVERAL cultural, racial, gender, and religious groups on campus that have never received the same call-to-action response from the university administration, and yet have faced blatant displays of prejudice or daily micro aggressions.

Your student body president, Jon Darby, wants "all people and all communities at Emory feel supported and safe on our campus" but several communities on Emory University's campus have not been treated with the same administrative outcry. In fact, some of the students I've already talked to feel (and myself included) that the administration's response confirmed the fact that only "certain people" matter. Is "blatant anti-semitism" more important than blatant racism, sexism, or discrimination against other religions?

Riddle me this.

If you're outraged about a swastika painted on a fraternity house, why weren't you also upset when your peers were alluded to as 3/5th of a person?

Why weren't you upset when another fraternity chanted "USA!" to a group of Asian Americans?

Why do some of our peers continue to hang confederate flags in their rooms?

Why the hell is Beta still on campus after a woman reported she was the victim of a rape by two males at the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) fraternity house?

When the Black Student Alliance asked for the university community to wear Black to support African American students after The Dooley Show incident and Wagner's comments, where was the Emory community's support?

If you call for solidarity with AEPi and the Jewish community at Emory, reciprocate and show solidarity for other marginalized groups on campus that have experienced "abhorrent," "crude," "offensive" "egregious" insensitive displays of prejudice as well.



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  2. I'm in complete agreement with you, Laika, about the "USA chant." That's really disappointing to hear about. I was, however, provoked to say something about the accusation in your actual blog post that the president of our university called "some of our peers" 3/5 of a person. He didn't do that--our government did, sadly. Our president was referring to the piece of legislation in our country's history which put the 3/5 rule into action. He gave ample historical context and made very clear what he was trying to accomplish by bringing up that particular point in our country's timeline. Why he decided that the passing of that particular piece of legislation was the best example to use in his speech is definitely a question that I'd be curious to know the answer to as well... but the fact remains that he was alluding to a factual part of our country's history that educational institutions absolutely can't afford to see as taboo; if we can't talk about our country's darkest periods, we can't learn from them.

  3. Jake, the author isn't belittling this incident. At the end of the first paragraph and the beginning of the second, she expresses that "couldn't agree more" about how horrible and hateful the vandalism was. The point of this piece is that she is upset both about this incident AND the lack of solidarity from Emory when other minority groups have been targeted in the past.

    Katherine, I agree that President Wagner didn't directly "call some of our peers 3/5 of a person." However, to use the that legislation as an example of a good compromise is an ignorant, tone deaf blunder at best. The North wanted slaves to count for 0 of the population so the South would get less seats in Congress. The South wanted their slaves not to get representation, but to count for 3/5ths of a person so they could get more seats. It was sure great that all these aristocrats could agree about how much a human being was worth, wasn't it? It is still staggering to me that the president of Emory University was either so uneducated or obtuse that he thought referring to the 3/5ths legislation was wise and not extremely offensive.

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  5. I happen to recall Alpha Phi Alpha's suspension a little differently, now that you mention it.

    "In both instances, there were reports of physical and psychological hazing" - Assistant Dean of Campus Life and Director of Student Conduct Eric Hoffman on AphiA and DST

    AphiA is not on campus because they physically and psychologically attacked their new members. AEPi was just the victim of an anti-Semitic hate crime minutes after Yom Kippur, completely unprovoked and for no sensible reason. How dare you compare these two events in any fashion whatsoever. I would love to expose the rest of the holes in this under informed piece of literature but I don't have the time to waste.


  6. I would guess that beta is still on campus because the rape accusations were withdrawn and the accused individuals were cleared. I hope you would check your facts before you would publish such a baseless remark.

    1. That also alarmed me. (1) Why that would be mentioned here and (2) I thought it was well known by all that the girl falsely accused them and they were found innocent. What is more shocking is that this is mentioned in an article about the recent crimes done to aepi a clear act of anti-semitism. As to why this "author" chose to relate the two incidents, is not only sickening, it immediately takes away your credibility and makes you look like an absolute fool. Somebody should report this article.

  7. I can write a ten page paper outlining why you have crossed a line that is not acceptable. How dare you compare these events in the same article. I agree that some of the events listed are an outrage, and should have been handled better, but you are far from informed. Before even getting into further detail, what is the actual purpose of your post? The school that you attack for the inability to handle these terrible situations actually does something right, (perhaps correcting its past mistakes - in your words), but you are upset? Because this issue does not personally affect you, you felt the need to use this as a way to resurface unrelated issues that bother you so you can gain something. How about you praise the school for trying to deal with this disgusting act in a somewhat sincere manner. How about you show sympathy for the victims in this particular case. After all, you are so offended by so many things, you should absolutely understand how the victims feel, but you are trying to ruin it, by drowning it with other topics so it becomes just one of many wrong actions - even though comparing this to anything other than other acts of antisemitism is absurdity. You disgust me, and I have not even discussed why this issue is so different from anything previously done. Hint: Go update yourself on world events starting a few a months ago as a start...

    1. Very well put. It became very obvious to me that the nature of this article is essentially opportunistic, and quite frankly, contradictory (as the gentleman above me pointed out). Its one thing to be incorrect in your line of reasoning, but it is completely unacceptable to belittle one of the most outwardly offensive acts of indecency that we have seen at this school out of expediency to another community. **I would also like to point out, on that note, that saying "I couldn't agree more", by no means grants you the liberty to contradict yourself with impunity, it only compounds and discredits this article further**.

      I am very disappointed to read this article, especially considering the widespread support and positivity that we have been seeing in response. Why spread hate and negativity at a time like this? Its just saddening. It is well known that the African-American community was demonized and marginalized by the values represented by the Nazi Swastika alongside the Jewish community. Why not, instead, take this opportunity to encourage unity in the face of discrimination and injustice?

      Beyond the two disappointing themes I just mentioned, I was baffled by the inclusion of two other trivial points:

      Firstly, what do you aim to prove by quoting the **SGA President's stance against discrimination? Its inclusion suggests that you are indicting him for hypocrisy, but you fail to provide any evidence that he has ever spoken or acted otherwise. INSTEAD, you ask the readers of this article to, basically, take your word for it that people around campus are condemning the administration's actions in supporting a Jewish organization after they were the victims of a heinous hate crime (or in your words, "certain people", which is so outrageously inappropriate I can't even believe my eyes. Again - "I couldn't agree more" does not free you from the need to write with basic decency).

      Secondly, I am just unsure why you have made Beta something of a centerpiece of this article. To begin, your summary of the IM Volleyball incident is criminally misleading and your description of the sexual assault case is factually wrong. Your lack of preparation and regard for, apparently any organization that you are not a part of, is crystal clear. This becomes seriously problematic when you apply that same prejudice to an organization that was just vandalized with an icon that represents the death of ~6 million of their ethnic people (sorry, "certain people")

  8. While I agree with the overall sentiment of this author, she has incorrectly described events to align with her viewpoints. The rape accusations against the Beta fraternity member were ultimately investigated, and then the accusations were later dropped. The statement made by President Wagner certainly was an outrage, and the faculty even held a vote to censure the President. The production members of the Dooley Show were sent to honor council hearings and had punishments handed out to them. The Black Student Alliance house only housed 5 students before they changed the housing arrangements. Arguably, the new Black Student Union space is in in the Dobbs University Center, in a more widely seen and accessible space for all students. And the reports about crimes on Emory always being a "black male wearing a hoodie and blue jeans" are 90-95% from the Emory Hospital in downtown Atlanta which is next to a homeless shelter. I think this is a flawed argument and stems from a systemic socioeconomic problem in Atlanta where most poor people in Atlanta are black, and poor people are more likely to commit crime. Trying to attack Emory on that point is going against Emory's responsibility to inform students of crimes that occur on campus which is federally mandated.

    My experience with fraternity parties is also you have to know someone to get into them. Having worked the front door at one, I will tell you that 60-75% of all people get turned away. I don't know about all the fraternities though, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was racial bias involved.

    The only other act that fits her story is the USA! USA! cheering by the Beta fraternity on campus. It was blatantly offensive. However, I would not say it was brushed under the rug by the community or the administration. It was covered in the newspaper I think 2 times, and students chattered about it for weeks after the event. The administration also handed out punishments against the chapter, but could not elucidate those punishments due to privacy concerns I believe.

  9. Ms. LaMalaika,

    I'm going to go ahead and assume that you can read but choose not to, for I believe you to be extremely lazy based on both your journalistic standards, and your decision to include a quote from the devil and king of lazy, entitled scum like yourself, Barack Obama.

    I am offended that you chose to make Beta Theta Pi the centerpiece of your slanderous page of filth, especially when the two incidents you "reported" on, you greatly misrepresented to fit your narrative.

    I am offended that you claim white greek organizations get preferential treatment to African-American greek organizations, when you neglected to include the fact that while there are African-American greek organizations, there is no such existence of any white greek organizations. Furthermore, of these multi-racial greek organizations on Emory's campus, several of them have been kicked off campus in the past several years, but of course you couldn't include actual facts.

    I am offended that you referred to the Jewish people as "certain people" as a way to make your point and marginalize the harmful disgusting act that was promulgated on a Jewish fraternity house.

    I am offended that you treat yourself as part of the Emory community, but we all know based on your tone, sense of intellect, and journalistic standards, you would never be accepted into Emory University.

    I am offended that you play the race card in every which way to try and get your point across, claiming that only black people are not allowed into fraternity parties and your marginalization of the job that Emory police officers do, citing "the classic "Black male, hooodie, and blue jeans" Emory Alert criminal profiles", what I don't understand is that do you believe those are lies? That those crimes couldn't possibly have been committed by black people?

    It sounds to me, Ms. LaMalaika, that you are in fact the real racist. You put down the struggles of other races because of YOUR shaped narratives that attempt to tell a story of subjugation. You are what's wrong with America, you are what's wrong with freedom of speech and our internet culture where everybody believes because they have a voice, they should use it.

    My grandfather used to say, it's better to close your mouth and let everyone assume you're stupid, than it is to open your mouth and prove them all right. Ms. LaMalaika, you fall squarely into the latter category. Your lack of intellect is insulting, and it is my only hope that you help rid us all of your internet presence, and go find a job tending to a cash register at your local McDonald's.