Auburn fraternities sport black face

Racism is still alive.

The supporting evidence is at Auburn University where racially-charged photos were taken at a Halloween party of white fraternity members masquerading in black face, Afro wigs and Omega Psi Phi fraternity paraphernalia.

The organizations being held responsible for the incidents in the Delta Sigma Phi and Beta Theta Pi fraternities.

According to a report from the Huntsville Times, “Pictures from an Oct. 25 party showed members of Beta Theta Pi lampooning a black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, wearing mock letter jerseys, Afro wigs and black face.”

Delta Sigma Phi members are shown in Oct. 27 pictures depicting a lynching involving a student robed in Ku Klux Klan attire and another in black face.”

Both fraternities were temporarily suspended, pending a full investigation.

As a first step to reconciling themselves to the Auburn community, Delta Sigma Phi and Beta Theta Pi each responded to the incidents.

“Delta Sigma Phi does not condone racism of any kind,” said Jon Hockman, Delta Sigma Phi’s executive director. “We have suspended all activity of this group while we conduct a thorough investigation. Once we have all the facts, appropriate further action will be taken.”

They took further action on last Monday when the group cast a deciding vote that expelled two of its members and suspended four more for their roles in the Halloween party.

“Beta Theta Pi’s position is quite clear,” said David W. Wright, Beta Theta Pi’s general secretary. “The suspension will remain in effect until conclusion of the fraternities investigation.”

While both groups conducted investigations which are independent of the university’s, Auburn Interim president William F. Walker commanded a complete and swift probe in to the incidents as soon as he was made aware of the photographs, reported the Auburn University News.

Walker shared his sentiments at a Black Student Union meeting held to discuss the incident.

“These images are shocking and outrageous, and they are unacceptable,” Walker told the crowded room of African-American students. “On behalf of the faculty, staff and students, I apologize deeply for the hurt that has been caused for so many by the insensitive acts of a few students.”

The highlight of the meeting was an address made by Matt Furin, president of Delta Sigma Phi.

“We are sorry for what we have done,” Furin said to the silenced room.

Beta Theta Pi sent no representative to the meeting.

But, the organization that they mocked, Omega Psi Phi, one of the oldest and largest black fraternities in the country, held a meeting of its own.

According to the Auburn University News, “On Monday morning, Omega Psi Phi members met with AU administrators and showed them the pictures taken at the Beta Theta Pi and Delta Sigma Phi parties.” Auburn’s vice president, Wes Williams was charged with conducting a quick, full investigation regarding the photos.