The Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority are facing criticism over recent photographs that depict members of each chapter engaged in alleged cultural appropriation during chapter-sponsored events.
An image surfaced on Instagram and Twitter late Sunday afternoon showing multiple men at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house wearing Native American attire during their bid day events. In addition, several Zeta Tau Alpha women were criticized for wearing sombreros and holding maracas as part of chapter-sponsored big-little reveals in a social media post that has since been deleted. The criticism of the photographs that emerged on social media underscored the racial dynamics of the University’s Greek system. Inter-Fraternity Council and Inter-Sorority Council chapters at U.Va. are often predominantly white, and the photos symbolize what some people view to be a system unwelcoming to minority students.
The IFC released a statement Sunday evening condemning the actions of Kappa Sigma fraternity members during IFC bid day events Sunday. The statement described the attire as “prejudiced and culturally insensitive,” also labeling the actions as a form of cultural appropriation. The IFC also said it would work with the University and Kappa Sigma leadership to further investigate the actions depicted in the photo.
“The IFC condemns these actions and any others that appropriate cultures,” the statement reads. “The IFC is working with the chapter leadership of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at UVA to investigate this matter and sanction the identified parties.”
The ISC did not respond to a request for comment by press time, and the U.Va. chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha declined to comment.
This is a developing story.
Correction: This article previously misquoted the IFC's statement on the incident, using the phrase "culturally sensitive" instead of "culturally insensitive," to describe the attire of the Kappa Sigma members, and it has been updated to reflect the accurate quote.