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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Kappa Delta party scrutinized

The news broke Friday through a post on Jezebel: “Indiana sorority girls attend totally cute homeless-themed party.”

The sorority is the IU chapter of Kappa Delta, and the article discusses a party thrown during Little 500 week.

Michael Goodman, senior assistant director for fraternity and sorority life at IU, said inappropriate themes are not a new occurrence.

“We do receive reports within the Fraternity/Sorority community regarding themes or incidents where there is a lack of sensitivity,” Goodman said in an email. “Student Life and Learning works closely with the Commission on Multicultural Understanding (COMU) and the Incident Teams to partner in addressing these incidents, and to also provide as much education to the community as a whole.”

The story came complete with photos of sisters wearing signs such as “Give me a nickel and I’ll tickle your pickle” and “Why lie? It’s for booze.” The author of the blog post released them after getting the tip and photos from an IU student who is Facebook friends with the girls shown.

As of Sunday night, the article had nearly 200,000 views and had been shared more than 9,000 times on Facebook.

This party was a paired party with the fraternity Sigma Pi. As the themes are often selected through collaboration between the sorority and fraternity, it’s not clear who actually chose the theme.

The story about the party came out a day after Kappa Delta was awarded the Outstanding Organization award from the Office of Student Ethics, according to an IU press release. Last semester, the sorority donated 72 purses to the Middle Way House to benefit homeless women, according to a tweet from their account on Sept. 26, 2012.

The Kappa Delta national headquarters released a press release statement condemning the chapter’s behavior.

“National and local leaders of Kappa Delta Sorority were recently made aware of an inappropriate event theme that perpetuated insensitivity toward the homeless community,” the release said. “Kappa Delta does not condone these actions or any language that demeans an individual or group.”

Aubrey McMahon, the president of the IU chapter of Kappa Delta, issued a similar release, although she refused comment.

Some sorority members also insist it was an “Occupy”-themed party rather than one targeting the homeless.

National headquarters referred to it as a homeless-themed party.

Anjulia Urasky, president of the Panhellenic Association, said the theme crossed a line.

“They made light of a situation that is very severe in this country and especially in Bloomington,” she said.

Urasky also said the sorority will go to trial through the honor board, where a punishment will be decided.

She said she could not say at this time what that punishment will be.

Despite what Goodman said, Urasky said an incident like this has never happened before.

The sorority was paired with the fraternity Sigma Pi for the event. Although Sigma Pi did not offer comment, Sean Jordan, vice president of communications for the Interfraternity Council, said there will be an investigation.

“Moving forward, we do plan to take some kind of action in regards of accountability, probably with regard to our standards board,” Jordan said.

He also said most likely some form of punitive and educational action will be taken against the fraternity.

Goodman said he thinks this is an educational opportunity for the entire community. He also said it’s important students speak up.

 “If students are seeing inappropriately themed parties, we want to know about them, and we want to hold those folks accountable,” he said.

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