Widgets Magazine

Kappa Sig quiet about homophobia discord

Members of the Stanford chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity remain tight-lipped this week after several men complained about the use of homophobic language in the chapter and said they would deactivate, sparking the attention of the Inter-Fraternity Council.

A series of e-mails between members of the fraternity began on April 3 with one member writing, “I’d appreciate it if we could stop sending out messages with the word fag in them. I know it’s not meant to be derogatory against gay people, but it does bother me.”

Another member wrote back: “Delayed April Fools?”

A flurry of replies ensued, with members denouncing the “April Fool’s” response and at least three of them saying they would deactivate.

The president of the chapter, Harris Brown ’11, called for an end to the discussion, saying the concerns about homophobic language were “legitimate” and that the e-mails were “embarrassing to our house.”

The thread circulated on campus e-mail lists, including Qnet and The Diaspora, for days afterward.

Now, it remains unclear how the chapter is dealing with the fallout. Brown, in an e-mail to The Daily, would say only that it was “an incident that first must be resolved internally, with the individuals involved, and with the University.”

One of the men who said he would leave the chapter, Zach Wettstein ’11, echoed Brown, saying they were “working through proper channels” to resolve the issue.

None of the other members involved in the flare-up returned requests for comment, including juniors Ben Halpern and Chris Winterbauer, who also said they would deactivate, and Bert McBride ’10, who first responded to the initial e-mail. The member who first raised the concern, Jon Anderson ’11, declined to speak publicly about it.

Nikola Milanovic ’11, the incoming president of the Inter-Fraternity Council and a Daily columnist, said the council was aware of the discussion in Kappa Sigma but staying out of what he called an “intra-fraternity” issue.

He said homophobia is a “salient concern” to the Greek community here.

“It’s true that there are incidences of homophobic acts in frats, and this is concerning to the IFC as well as fraternity leadership because these acts are not representative of the culture that we want to create,” Milanovic wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.

Amanda Rodriguez, the Greek program advisor for Residential Education, deferred questions about whether or not ResEd was helping resolve the dispute to Nate Boswell, an associate ResEd dean. Boswell did not return requests for comment on Monday.

About Elizabeth Titus

Elizabeth Titus was editor in chief of Volume 238 of The Stanford Daily, serving from July 2010 to January 2011. Contact her at elizabethmtitus@gmail.com.
  • Poor form, Daily

    Dear Stanford Daily (and Ellie Titus in particular),

    Shame on you. If the only people willing to comment consistently talk about how the issue is being handled privately and internally, with repeated requests to keep the issue within their fraternity, what right do you have to go poking your nose in? You’re reporting weeks after the issue initially sparked and discussion subsequently died down, which means that this could not possibly still be news. If the students involved in the “discord” declined to comment, you should respect their privacy and not publicly name them, even if you have that information.

    The Daily, as an institution, has increasingly lost its journalistic merit over the last year, and now that you take Special Fees, you should be accountable to and, most of all, considerate of the student body you claim to serve.

    Shame on you, Stanford Daily.

  • uh

    ^Late April Fool’s?

  • observer

    Journalism is about reporting on things, including on those which some would rather not have reported. This article doesn’t even list the names of any student who actually made an offensive statement, so I don’t see the problem.

  • WTF

    This article says literally nothing that wasn’t already stated in the original email chain which was sent around over a week ago. Journalism is about reporting on things that we don’t all already know. Great job Stanford Daily for restating the obvious.

  • Senior

    ^ I actually hadn’t heard about it, so I was glad they reported on it

  • yeah

    not everyone in the larger community is on these email lists…you people realize that undergrads aren’t the only people who read the Daily right?

  • Reader

    Yeah, I didn’t hear about this until now.

  • Wildly Inappropriate

    This article does well for the first half when it keeps people anonymous, but despite what “observer” says, the following paragraph at the end:

    “None of the other members involved in the flare-up returned requests for comment, including juniors Ben Halpern and Chris Winterbauer, who also said they would deactivate, and Bert McBride ’10, who first responded to the initial e-mail. The member who first raised the concern, Jon Anderson ‘11, declined to speak publicly about it.”

    …is wildly inappropriate. The reason why someone like Jon Anderson would decline to comment is because he is likely trying to a) preserve his own respect in the house, or b) try to protect his sexuality (or opinions on sexuality) from being placed on further public forum. The story has nothing to do with citing that particular individual’s name, and in doing so will forever include him in something he clearly meant to keep in-house–and that something can be interpreted (whether correctly or not) as correlated to his sexuality.

    Wildly Inappropriate, Offensive, and Unnecessarily Harmful in the Long Run.

  • Hi

    The Daily may have the right to publish people’s names, but why did they chose to? How did this article benefit from including their names? Would it have had the same impact if it did not have students’ names?

  • Thank You

    Thank you for reporting on this. These problems have been going on throughout the greek system and particularly in Kappa Sig, and it’s time someone did something about this. For those of us who didn’t read the initial email thread, this has been very enlightening and has brought attention to this large problem that affects all of us in the Stanford community.

    Hopefully the house will stop being so defensive about the situation and solve the real (and MANY) problems they have going on.