I.M.P. Society, SHHO denounce alleged ‘blatant discrimination and violence’ by members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at recent party

The statement alleged fraternity members created an exclusionary environment at the party

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The I.M.P Society and SHHO hosted a party Saturday night at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house. The organizations alleged in a public statement Tuesday that members of the fraternity were not in compliance with previously agreed upon terms for the event. 

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

In a joint statement released Tuesday morning, the I.M.P Society and the Student Hip Hop Organization apologized for and denounced alleged “blatant discrimination and violence” at a party hosted by both organizations Saturday night at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house. 

A representative for the fraternity said Tuesday that the organization will not yet make a statement about the situation, in order to continue efforts to “meet and dialogue” with the organizations involved.

The statement comes after students alleged on social media that Beta Theta Pi members had guarded entrances to the house during the duration of the party, implementing a system that controlled who was able to enter. However, the Facebook event for the party was made public to the University student body — with over 400 people expressing interest or intent to attend.

According to the statement, the alleged actions of Beta Theta Pi members were not in compliance with terms agreed upon by the I.M.P. Society, SHHO and the fraternity prior to the party. 

“As the night unfolded, these members of the fraternity brought it upon themselves to create a space separate from ours,” the statement reads. “This was in direct violation of our party norms and the previously agreed upon terms for the event.”

Criticism of the event on social media underscored the racial dynamics of the Greek system. IFC fraternities at U.Va. are often predominantly white, and photos that circulated online appeared to show several white men guarding the entrance to the party, creating what some people viewed as an unwelcoming environment for minority students. 

The statement released Tuesday alleged that “impromptu ‘security’ provided at various entrances led to the policing of minority students.”

The Facebook event for the party detailed “event norms,” which are brief guidelines posted on every SHHO event page to address potential discrimination and problematic situations at events.  

“Any sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or otherwise violent behavior will not be tolerated,” the post reads. “If you or someone you are with feel unsafe please reach out to our team and we will work with the event staff to remove the offending person from the space.” 

According to the statement, SHHO and I.M.P. members made “numerous attempts” to follow these norms, but were met with “resistance” from fraternity members. 

The statement did not offer any other details about the event, and it did not specifically name the  Beta Theta Pi fraternity. However, the event’s Facebook page listed the address of the fraternity’s house as the party’s location and photos posted on social media also showed the house. 

Ashwanth Samuel, a Data Science graduate student and Inter-Fraternity Council president, said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily that the “IFC has been in conversation with relevant student groups in an attempt to find a constructive path moving forward.”

Representatives from the I.M.P. Society and SHHO declined to offer further comment Tuesday. 

A copy of the public letter released Tuesday: 

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