Kappa Sig admits to racial slur

By Hanh Quach
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 19, 1996

Kappa Sigma fraternity has issued a formal apology admitting to a racial slur made against a MEChA member. The derogatory term was used during a speed soccer game in September.

A letter released March 7 by Kappa Sigma acknowledges "unacceptable behavior" by member Jim Clark. Although the letter indicates the fraternity is unclear about what racial slur was said, Kappa Sigma recognized the remark was "totally unacceptable and beneath the standards that we expect from our membership."

Clark was asked to move out of the fraternity house on 1423 E. First St. He also lost membership privileges and voting rights until the end of the year, said Scott Jeffery, Kappa Sigma president.

"It's unfortunate that he will be able to rejoin the fraternity despite his actions toward us," said Tomas Martinez, MEChA president.

Clark refused to comment.

Martinez said he was pleased with the apology, but felt that Thomas Keating, nationwide vice president of the housing corporation and Kappa Sigma alumnus, played more of a role in the apology than the campus chapter did.

Martinez said Keating hand-delivered the letter to him with regret that the incident had occurred.

He also said Keating was unhappy with the way Kappa Sigma had handled the situation.

"I'm glad he got wind of it. It's because of (Keating) we have this apology. I'm more happy with him than the house," he said. Martinez said Keating stepped in to resolve the situation in January after the first round of protests during bid night.

But Jeffery said he does not recall Keating's presence during bid night.

Keating could not be reached at his office in San Francisco.

Jeffery said the ordeal was a learning experience for both Kappa Sigma and MEChA that helped promote awareness and sensitivity to racial issues.

Jeffery said he believed the fraternity handled the issue well, though he apologized for the delayed response which he attributed to miscommunication on both sides.

Martinez said in a previous interview that not all Kappa Sigma members involved attended Dean of Students meetings to resolve the problem.

In addition to an apology, the letter suggests increased dialogue to promote understanding between the two groups. Jeffery said he would like the fraternity to become more involved with campus climate issues.

He said he feels that both MEChA and Kappa Sigma can make suggestions to improve understanding on campus.

Martinez said MEChA is working with Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and National Panhellenic Council to end discrimination.

"It's not an isolated problem," Martinez said. "We're trying to work toward a broader goal and objective.

"This does happen frequently on campus. We want to let people know that you can stand up, people will support you and the truth will come out."

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