Sorority Mocks D9 Greek Life
Sofia Rositani – Editor-in-Chief
Sarah Shelton – Features Editor
On Friday Jan.28, a video surfaced on the public platform Instagram of students from the Greek organization Omega Zeta Pi sorority.
In the video, they are seen imitating strolls and mocking cultural and historical values from sororities of the Divine 9 (D9), well-known historically Black Greek organizations which first started at Howard University. The D9 sororities at the university are Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho.
On Sunday, the Southern CT State Greek Life instagram, @scsu_greeklife_, account posted a statement saying, “On Friday, a video surfaced showing members of Omega Zeta Pi imitating and disrespecting the traditions of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. This is inexcusable and intolerable. GLC prides itself on unity and this act was a blatant rejection of our ideals. We stand with the sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and all NPHC and NALFO organizations and will be discussing our next steps at our next meeting.”
President Joe Bertolino also sent out a letter to the university regarding this incident.
“As president, I want to acknowledge the disrespect and hurt that this incident has caused to the Zeta Phi Beta membership, other Multicultural Greek Organizations, and indeed individuals of color across our campus community,” Bertolino wrote. “The behavior shown in the video clip is unacceptable and goes against our commitment to being a social justice and anti-racist university. Please know that we are committed to listening, learning, and taking concrete steps to do better as a university to support and protect you.”
Bertolino mentioned the university will be working with Zeta Phi Beta, Omega Zeta Pi and other Greek life organizations to confront this issue.
“Regarding the incident in question, we have already been in conversations with the individuals involved and appropriate student and university leadership are addressing this matter with our various campus constituencies. I am aware that a meeting has been scheduled tomorrow with the leaders of both sororities to discuss a resolution and steps that need to be taken,” Bertolino wrote.
The meeting was held Monday, but before this, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority released a statement.
“As members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated’s Psi Omicron Chapter on Southern Connecticut State University’s (SCSU) campus, we have represented Greek Life as part of this campus community for over 25 years. As students of CSU, we support our campus community on all fronts and continue to uphold the principles of our beloved organization: Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, and Finer Womanhood. With Greek Life as a focal point of the on- and off-campus community, we can no longer accept or tolerate the blatant disregard for our rich 102-year history, the appropriation of our culture, and the lack of accountability for those that continue to threaten the psychological safety between students,” Zeta Phi Beta’s president, Ashley Perez, wrote in a letter posted on Instagram.
Perez goes on in the letter to discuss previous problems with Omega Zeta Pi.
“Prior to this incident, members of Omega Zeta Pi discussed their chapter’s desire for their Fall 2021 Powder Puff Football team during a Greek Life Council meeting on October 22, 2021. In particular, an Executive Board member of Omega Zeta Pi openly shared the chapter’s disdain for integrating the football teams with members of other Sororities and that they did not want their teams ‘mixed with other Sororities’,” Perez wrote.
The video was picked up and posted by a Connecticut “tea” social media page with over 32K views, 12.8K followers and over 300 comments.
“To see an SCSU Greek-lettered organization not only participate in such negligible actions but also record a video and share it on social media highlights the blatant disregard for our organization,” Perez wrote. “For the success of Greek Life on SCSU’s, campus, we must respect each other’s values regardless of the full understanding of the principles of our organizations, as well as the cultures, ethnicity, or race of it’s members.”
Zeta Phi Beta wrote they seek the following actions and activities to hold Omega Zeta Pi accountable: A required mandatory cultural education training for all incoming Greek Life members; Omega Zeta Pi charter suspended for one academic year. They want to engage Omega Zeta Pi in moderated mediation efforts to repair the relationships between their organization and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, also requiring the Omega Zeta Pi chapter members allegedly in the video to volunteer 20 hours of community service each within a local organization serving underrepresented people of color and communities in New Haven County.
They add that they would like to establish a Multicultural Greek Council, deploying hiring efforts toward selecting culturally diverse candidates for employment and using resources to increase the recruitment of students of color in underrepresented communities throughout New Haven County.
Omega Zeta Pi released a statement on Jan. 31 publicly on Instagram. They stated that they will be holding the members accountable after finding out about the video.
“We are currently in contact with many people in regard to many different aspects of this situation,” The statement said. “The actions in the video of those affiliated with our organization do not adhere to the standards we hold of our members or our beliefs and values. We aim to celebrate cultural diversity on campus and in Greek Life, and to create unified bonds between each of the SCSU’s Greek organizations. We hope to repair and strengthen these bonds going forward by educating ourselves better and further.”
Student Involvement could not be reached for comment
Diane Ariza could not be reached for comment.
Greek Life could not be reached for comment.
According to a statement from the Omega Zeta Pi Instagram “Omega Zeta Pi Sorority will not be holding recruitment events for the Spring 2022 semester.”