Nine masked men unveil their membership in Iota

As expected with a new semester, different Greek-letter organizations unleash new lines.

The first Greek organization to host a coming-out show this year was the Gamma Chi chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

The Iotas were founded at Morgan State University in 1936 and are the newest members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

On Friday, shouts and cheers rang as high as the fourth floor of Tucker Hall as supporters waited for the Iota’s probate show to begin.

Friends and others fanned themselves as they stood in heat in front of the fraternity’s picnic tables to witness the unveiling of the new members.

Finally, the anticipation was eased as nine masked men in brown and yellow T-shirts, army fatigue pants and gold and brown painted boots marched toward the crowd in sync.

Chanting “I work hard” as they stomped, the new line seemed eager for their crossing over.

The event involved each Iota coming out and giving a small solo performance for the crowd, lots of creative stomps, and inventive chants. The Iota’s even serenaded and hyped the crowd with a rendition of Jodeci’s ” Come and Talk to Me,” and Outkast’s “Rosa Parks.”

Students, sororities and fraternities all stood in the crowd to show support.

Shondra Madison, 19, from Miami looked on because she had a friend who was coming out.

“It was a good show, I liked all of it,” said the sophomore general studies student.

Others were there to support all of the members of the fraternity.

“I have friends who are already in the Iota fraternity,” said Sheree Carter, a sophomore pharmacy student from Gainesville. “I’m just here to support.”

Austin Harris, a member of The Alpha Eta chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. said the show went well.

“We (the Sigmas) have a pretty good relationship (with the Iotas). We just want to see them come out,” said the 23-year old fourth year business administration student from Atlanta.

Observers seemed to be pleased with the show.

“It’s hype; it’s always crunk. It was good…a small group of people came with the energy and strength of a large line,” said Saasha Wheeler, a 22-year-old graduate student from Fort Lauderdale, who is also a member of the Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Yet, others expressed their criticisms.

“I don’t like it when people use profanity. MTV is here. It’s not a scholarly way to represent the organization,” said Bianca Lee said, a 22-year-old fifth year business administration student from Atlanta. Lee is also a member of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

The network, mtvU, which is exclusively tailored to colleges and universities, was at the event as a part of its “Tailgate Tour.”

Alan Clary, a production associate of mtvU, said the tour involved six schools in which FAMU was the second stop.

After the show, the new Iotas were exhausted and pretty much out of breath, but extremely happy.

“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. It was a long journey,” said Tyras Cato, a 19-year-old physical education student from Tampa.

Willie Smith, a 19-year-old junior from Orlando and new Iota agreed.

“When I first came to this school, I thought I would never join a fraternity like this, but it turned out to be the best,” he said. “I definitely had times I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Contact Royce Wynn at