Sorority Photo Sparks Controversy
MUNCIE -- The Gamma Mu Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega issued an apology after posting a controversial photo on Instagram Sunday.
Kaela Miller, Alpha Chi Omega Chapter president, said in a statement,
"The Gamma Mu chapter of Alpha Chi Omega apologizes for a recent incident involving a sign quoting a Beyoncé lyric that may have had racial undertones. We did not realize the implications of the lyric and now understand more fully the meaning of the words. Alpha Chi Omega is committed to continuing to work to create a more inclusive community at Ball State, and we will seek learning opportunities to educate our members about inclusivity and social justice."
This apology came after a member of the sorority posted a photo (see above) on Instagram with eight of their members holding a sign that says, "Looking 4 Beckys with the Good Hair."
The Instagram photo was taking down shortly after it was posted.
Each sorority has a theme for bid day. Alpha Chi Omega used this sign to go with their Beyoncé theme hoping to get women to pledge the sorority.
A Ball State Senior theater major, who wishes to remain anonymous, said when she saw the photo she immediately made the connection to race.
"So if I'm thinking about a person names Becky and she has good hair, I'm not going to think that's a black person," she said.
The phrase was featured in a Beyoncé song. According to USA Today the phrase, "Becky with the Good Hair" refers to "a woman, who is bland and generally white, who may or may not be scheming to further her social success and wealth, likely by using her beauty and sexual acts to do so."
Prior to bid day, all of the sororities are required to get theme ideas and locations approved by the Pan-hellenic Council. The Greek Life staff, located in the Office of Student Life, provides oversight to this council.
Melissa Ann Hartley, director of student life, said in a statement,
"...Greek organizations are held accountable for the standards and values established by the councils and the Student Code of Conduct. In the case of the photo posted on Instagram by Alpha Chi Omega, as soon as the Panhellenic Council was made aware of the sign, the council with the support of Greek Life staff asked the organization to take corrective action and they complied. The process of accountability established by the councils and the Greek Life staff worked to address this incident. The Office of Student Life will serve as a resource to all organizations in identifying and engaging in efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive campus community."
Ball State Theatre student said inclusivity on campus is important but stressed there is a bigger issue at hand.
"You have to be culturally sensitive. You have to be educated in the cultures that surround you in your everyday life," she said.