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Machi’s Email Response

March 3, 2022

Sigma Chi President Timothy Liles and Derby Days Coordinator Santiago Leon wrote back to Panhellenic President Abigail Pittman in an email on behalf of Sigma Chi, a copy of which was obtained by the Old Gold & Black. 

“This allegation of an attempt to bring back AirBands clearly portrays our fraternity and our upcoming charity event as being sexist and offensive,” the email reads. “Not only is this extremely detrimental to our fundraising efforts, but it wrongly attributes inappropriate behaviors of people we never even knew to us personally.”

The emails between Pittman and Sigma Chi also revealed tensions over a fraternity-sponsored talent competition that would conflict with the Breast Cancer Talent Show, an annual event held by the Panhellenic Council.

“Additionally, Abigail, you personally brought up a concern that our talent show could take away from the Panhellenic Breast Cancer Awareness Talent show,” Liles wrote. “I personally find this preposterous, and I believe the charity organizations you benefit would as well. Claiming a monopoly over a type of fundraiser can do nothing but hurt the people in need we are trying to help.”

The email sent by Sigma Chi detailed that Sigma Chi’s decision to host a talent show was made in part because a talent show competition would increase participation and financial contributions. 

“Our last Derby Days in 2019 raised just over $25,000, not including a single large one-time donation,” Liles wrote. “The last Derby Days which included a performance-based competition in 2018 raised $97,507, making the difference over $50,000.” 

The email continues: “This by no means excuses the gross behavior at AirBands in the past. The point, however, is that the excitement for a charitable cause generated by allowing your organizations to compete is very hard to replicate otherwise. It would be wrong to completely dissociate your decision from the incredible charitable force that a talent show could be.” 

Wyrick, in her email, called Liles’ and Leon’s response “condescending, inappropriate, and quite honestly aggressive.” Liles told the Old Gold & Black that he did not intend the email to come off as inflammatory. 

In her email, Waszkiewicz rebutted, commenting that the provocative nature of AirBands did not coincide well with the event’s intended philanthropic effect. 

“It was exceptionally inappropriate and completely took away from the goal of raising money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and Brenner Children’s Hospital,” Waszkiewicz wrote. “Although [Sigma Chi has] made some changes to the event this year, it is still very similar to what it was in the past, and we want to ensure that it doesn’t once again get carried away in the future.

Liles and Leon, however, take issue with that line of thinking.

“How do we benefit from something that people just don’t want to participate in?” Leon said. “We don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. People just wouldn’t show up if we did something that was just completely out of pocket.”

Liles and Leon said they are willing to work with Panhellenic to make any event as comfortable and safe as possible. 

“We sent [the event proposal] to them saying this is an option, we’re offering you these tools, and you can just say no dancing if you want,” Leon said. “We left it completely open to them to change it however they wanted.”

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