“Picture this, a thousand virgins named Mary and a bunch of horny college dudes meeting for the first time in the Garden of Eden: Dump basement.”
Last week, an email that features misogynistic and vulgar language, including the example above, circulated quickly around campus, creating controversy. The email was sent by a member of Sigma Chi’s Delta Nu chapter at Wake Forest in reference to their social event “Tight and Bright,” originally scheduled for Friday, Oct. 26. Following the email, it was announced that the fraternity had been placed on interim suspension.
The email opened with: “we only get so many opportunities to claim our stake in this world, and we’re about to serve ya’ll up a fat fastball.” It goes on to describe “Tight and Bright,” as an “absurd, lawless” party where “no rules apply.”
In the email, it also negatively references sorority Delta Delta Delta as “Tri-Diesel,” saying that this is the only time that Sigma Chi “bless[es] them with the opportunity to step into [their] holy grail.” Furthering the misogynistic and derogatory views of women expressed in the email, it is written that “Tight and Bright” has been described as a “v-card swiping buffet” by individual members of the fraternity.
Further, the Old Gold & Black also received evidence from anonymous sources that, in the fall of 2016, a highly similar email, and in 2017, an almost word-for-word copy of the email was sent to undisclosed people in reference to the same event. The sources agreed to provide screenshots of the emails on the condition of anonymity.
In 2016, the email wrote about how members of Delta Delta Delta, while still using the derogatory nickname, had had the date of “Tight and Bright” circled on their calendars since “[they] made the social calendar months ago.” It also further targets the women of Delta Delta Delta when it wrote that “for once, they are the center of our attention.”
The 2016 email, which was sent ahead of Homecoming weekend, discusses having a “bunch of alumni in the mix” at the event. It ends by discussing how someone “will be going for the mother of his high school girlfriend” on the night of the event.
The only discrepancy between the 2017 and 2018 versions of the email is the name of the individual who describes “Tight and Bright” as a “v-card swiping buffet.” This individual is named differently in all three consecutive years. Upon investigation through Wake Information Network’s (WIN) internal directory and Facebook, it appears that the individuals are referenced by last name and were respectively sophomores at the time of the emails, which may imply that were potential new members or recently-initiated members of Sigma Chi.
It is unknown to whom and for what purpose these emails were intended.
Senior Nate Mayo, the current president of Sigma Chi’s Delta Nu chapter, gave a statement on behalf of his fraternity expressing regret in an email to the Old Gold & Black.
“The Delta Nu Chapter of Sigma Chi sincerely regrets that a message was sent out by a representative of our chapter that in no way reflects the character of our chapter, and we send our deepest apologies to the Wake Forest community,” read the statement.
In addition, other members of the Greek community have denounced the language and tone of the email.
A statement from the Executive Board Officers of the Panhellenic Council discussed how this incident is inconsistent with values that the Greek community should strive for and can hopefully spark productive discussions of misogyny.
“Knowing the current climate that we live in, our Executive Board wants to make it clear that this behavior will not be condoned at Wake Forest and it is important that we as women continue to advocate for appropriate treatment for our members in social settings,” read the statement. “One of the themes for our Executive Board this year has been women empowering women and this is a clear example where we all need to continue to support one another to ensure our voices are heard at this institution.”
Furthermore, noting that this will affect upcoming conversations and decisions, they wrote that they “expect that [their] male counterparts should want and need to do better.”
The Interfraternity Council also issued a statement, in support of what Panhellenic Council wrote. In addition, they added that “disrespect towards women has no place in the fraternity community.”
Senior Elizabeth Lipscomb, president of Delta Delta Delta, chose not to comment.
After the wide circulation of the email, a blog post on Oct. 29 by the Office of Student Engagement announced that Wake Forest’s chapter of Sigma Chi was placed on interim suspension, prompted by the decision from the Sigma Chi national organization to “temporarily suspend the operations of the Delta Nu chapter at Wake Forest [as] it may have violated Sigma Chi Governing Laws and policies.”
Sigma Chi Governing Laws, in section 6.01-1, state that, “No active chapter shall conduct or allow to occur any event, activity or behavior which could be regarded as disrespectful of any minority group or women. Prohibitions include but are not limited to disrespectful skits, parodies, songs, parties, writings, attire or makeup.”
According to Betsy Adams, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, if a national organization informs Wake Forest administration that they are investigating potential violations of a national policy, then Wake Forest administration will determine if they also need to investigate potential violations of University policy.
“We are fortunate that we have great relationships with the national organizations for our fraternities and sororities, and they share information with us just as we share information with them,” Adams said. “The University and the national organizations follow their respective investigative and conduct protocols.”
Interim suspension means that organization cannot “participate in chapter-related meetings, social functions, or activities on- or -off Wake Forest’s campus,” according to the blog post. Further, the interim suspension will remain in effect “at least” until University investigations are completed and next steps are identified.
In his statement, Mayo wrote that Sigma Chi is working to ensure that this incident will not happen again.
“We are complying completely with the interim suspension and are working collaboratively with the administration of WFU and our international fraternity to develop and implement an action plan that ensures this kind of incident never happens again,” the statement read.
This incident marks the third fraternity this semester to face the potential of disciplinary action. The blog post on Oct. 29 also announced that Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) is on interim suspension for “potential violations of University and Fraternity policies and in response to mistreatment of members joining Fall 2018.” Earlier this semester, it was decided that the chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) at Wake Forest would no longer be recognized by the University following an investigation after they violated the terms of their interim suspension.
Matthew Clifford, associate dean who oversees student conduct, noted that investigations vary depending on the incident.
“Investigations are fact-finding processes and involve collecting information about an incident or concern from people involved,” Clifford said. “We move as quickly as possible to gather the relevant facts about an incident or concern.”
According to Adams, this is not the first time that Wake Forest has had to investigate a number of student organizations in a seemingly short time span. She said that Wake Forest will always take actions to support the safety and welfare of the community.
“We are dedicated to helping our fraternity and sorority community align with the values of the University and their national organization,” Adams said.