UCLA is embroiled in a media firestorm following a raid hosted by Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Phi and a subsequent on-campus protest that drew hundreds of students.
By hosting a “Kanye Western”-themed raid, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Phi have brought UCLA Greek Life to national attention for the worst reason. The office of UCLA Fraternity and Sorority Relations must take action to ensure such an event doesn’t occur again on our campus, and the university must recognize the need to prevent racist incidents that don’t necessarily target, but nonetheless demeans UCLA’s black community.
What transpired was not an isolated incident – despite what Chancellor Gene Block indicated in his belated response – but a product of a university culture of discriminatory attitudes against black students. But the broad scope of such an issue cannot overshadow the need for a prompt and direct response to specific problems.
Pending the release of the Afrikan Student Union’s list of demands and the university’s response to it, the board calls on FSR to take immediate steps to ensure an incident like this isn’t hosted by an officially recognized on-campus organization again.
FSR’s attempts to police Greek life organizations by requiring them to turn in paperwork a week prior to the date of an event are inadequate. An alumni adviser and chapter president must both sign off on the form which includes the theme, but FSR clearly doesn’t hold Greek life organizations accountable to what they fill out on these official documents. Oftentimes, the themes that fraternities and sororities report to their nationals and to FSR aren’t the same as the ones they implement, highlighting the need for stricter enforcement.
While bus checks are required by the Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol division of FSR before houses leave campus for raids, this process is informal and insufficient. GAMMA officers should patrol pre-parties such as the one that took place at Sigma Phi Epsilon Tuesday and confirm that the theme parties being registered are the ones being thrown.
FSR must take responsibility for its shortcomings and amend its rules to address this indefensible lack of oversight. Simply requiring paperwork and performing cursory bus checks does not go far enough to ensure that theme parties don’t cross what is, at least for Greek life organizations, a fine line between fun and racism.
Greek life at UCLA has tarnished the university’s name, forcing the administration to do some damage control. The administration, particularly FSR, needs to take this seriously and work quickly to prevent future events such as this one from occurring.