SGA members to lead protest against Alpha Xi Delta

Symone Whalin, one of the authors of Resolution 1-19-S, expresses to SGA during a meeting on Feb. 26, 2019 why the historical marker located in front of the Kentucky Museum on Western Kentucky University’s Campus should be relocated.

Jack Dobbs

Two members of WKU’s Student Government Association will lead a protest in response to a video posted on Twitter showing members of WKU’s Alpha Xi Delta sorority singing a racial slur in a rap song.

The protest will happen at Kappa Delta’s annual philanthropy event, Shenanigans. The protest is organized by Symone Whalin and Anthony Survance, two SGA members.

“I’ve heard a lot of stories of Greek organizations being exclusionary, especially to people of color on our campus for a long time,” Survance said. “The video just seemed like a useful spark to start a discussion within Greek organizations and the culture they breed on our campus.”

Survance said this protest has also been inspired by SGA’s narrow vote to cancel Tuesday’s student senate meeting for Shenanigans. He said he believes that canceling the meeting for the event sends an inappropriate message from SGA.

“Maybe it’s a little risky for SGA to send a tacit endorsement to Greek, right after this video comes out and there’s clear evidence of racism existing in these organizations,” Survance said.

Shenanigans is an annual philanthropy event organized by Kappa Delta and hosted at SKyPAC, involving many of WKU’s Greek organizations. The event raises money for at-risk children through the Family Enrichment Center of Bowling Green and Prevent Child Abuse America.

Kate Adams, the president of WKU’s Kappa Delta chapter, issued a statement on the protest.

“Kappa Delta is committed to a diverse and inclusive community at Western Kentucky and sincerely hopes this situation results in open dialogue and education for all students,” Adams said in the statement.

Since SGA voted to cancel the meeting for Shenanigans, Whalin and Survance have created a Facebook group for the protest named “Demand Alpha Xi Delta’s Removal.” As of Oct. 7, nine people are confirmed as going and 29 people are “interested.”

Part of the goal of this protest is to hold the WKU administration accountable for its inaction with this issue, Whalin said.

“Their inaction just proved that students have to do action in order for anything to be done,” Whalin said. “It signals to minority students that we aren’t a priority to the administration.”

The Facebook group’s page said that the Twitter video incident “demonstrates the long known reality that Panhellenic organizations on our campus do not care to defend people of color and constantly breed toxic environments.”

Whalin said that while several members of various Greek organizations have voiced support of the protest, they cannot join since their organization is involved with Shenanigans.

“If something wrong happens, just because you may support them, you can still call out their problematic actions,” Whalin said. “Just because you may support the individual girls in Alpha Xi Delta, that doesn’t mean you can’t let them know that what they’ve done is wrong.”

Adams said in the statement that Shenanigans has been planned for “almost a year.” Adams also said the event raises over $16,000 annually.

Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at jack.dobbs469@topper. Follow him on Twitter at @ jackrdobbs.