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ISU condemns frat hazing that turns into bigoted vandalism

Students sitting on grass on ISU Quad
Illinois State University

The Dean of Students office at Illinois State University and the campus Pride organization are condemning bigoted vandalism of Greek houses by members of a campus fraternity.

Members of the fraternity Kappa Sigma vandalized three other houses over the weekend (Tri Sigma, and Alpha Sigma), according to the dean's office. Fraternity members spray painted derogatory slurs directed at LGBTQ+ people on the buildings.

Associate dean Michelle Whited criticized both the vandalism and the deplorable messages.

"We certainly don't condone this type of behavior and we are disheartened some students felt empowered to use a slur that affects a portion of our student body and our community," said Whited.

ISU Pride also condemned the vandalism, which Pride said in a social media post happened as part of a "hazing ritual." The group said "slurs have often been used as a tool to demean, diminish, and dehumanize marginalized groups." Pride said words often spur action and allowing this kind of language to continue can incite violence.

Whited said the dean's office is investigating possible code violations and the potential for individual discipline.

"We'll be working with our student conduct office to assist with making sure the appropriate sanctions are fulfilled," she said, adding the enforcement is two-pronged.

"The fraternity that perpetrated the act is a member of the Interfraternity Council, an umbrella governing group. That's a student organization which is looking at this from a student perspective and trying to hold their member organization accountable," said Whited.

The university is reaching out to members of the LGBTQ population on campus, too.

"We know students were affected individually," said Whited. "The Dean of Students is partnering with student counseling services to host a group processing session for any student that was affected by this incident."

That counseling session will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the student counseling services office.

Meanwhile, ISU Pride encouraged the Interfraternity Council to take measures to prevent this kind of behavior from happening again, to address the multitude of issues within Greek life, and to go beyond written apologies and words.

"Apologies meant to put a patch over a problem will not fix it, only taking the initiative to go after the root cause can do so,” Pride said in a social media post.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to remove Acacia House as one of the organizations whose building was vandalized.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.