Kappa Alpha Order bias incident is brought to light


Zoe Montague, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The campus has been buzzing quietly since the men’s bid day celebration in mid-September. “Have you heard what KA said?” “Are they going to be disciplined?” “How can they get away with it?” Concerned students received answers during the second half of the Campus Climate Survey presentation on Oct. 29. 

Dr. Joy Smith, vice president of Student Life, tried to explain the timeline of events. 

“September 13th, fraternities at Fraternity Court had the acceptance of their new members… what happened in this incident is that one of the groups did a chant, or a cheer, or whatever you want to call it. It took a little while before it got into the hands of Dr. Booker Ingram (director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion), who could initiate the bias incident process.”

 The video, which editors and reporters of the BlueStocking have seen (but are not linking to due to privacy concerns of the students who took the video), wasn’t given to administration until the beginning of October, Smith said.  

In the video, KA members can be seen lofting their flag, after catching their new members, and going into a chant which said in part, “1,2,3, Robert E. Lee. 3,2,1, the South should’ve won.” 

Smith explained that Ingram decided to use this event as an opportunity for education for the KA members, rather than simply a disciplinary one, although the fraternity is still facing disciplinary measures.

Part of their education included then-chapter president, Matthew Tindall, reading an apology that KA had written. 

“Recognizing the harm that we have caused, particularly to minority students at Presbyterian College, we realize we must take steps in order to repair the harmful effects of our behavior…we the Gentlemen of Kappa Alpha Order, Beta Pi, are deeply sorry and apologetic for this entire incident and the pain it has caused members of the Presbyterian College community,” Tindall read. 

When Ingram came to the podium, he explained that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is working on putting together a concrete action plan for bias and discrimination incidents in the future, including updating the bias incident reporting form. A key theme from faculty and staff in the room was urging students to report bias and discrimination in order for the administration to take action. 

But students had lingering questions.

Some wondered if KA was being scapegoated. “What about the statistic that 25 percent of students had heard or seen bias or discrimination from faculty, staff, administration, and campus police?” Reeves Bridges, president of Alpha Sigma Phi asked.

Some students questioned the decision to educate KA rather than impose a harsher punishment. Still, others pointed out that racism and discrimination happen everywhere on campus, not just fraternity court.

*Article was edited to explain that video was not linked to protect the anonymity of sources.*