SALSA faces discriminatory chants during Homecoming parade


The Kent State Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA) holds flags representing different countries at the Homecoming parade on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.

UPDATED AS OF 10/03/16, 1:00 p.m.

A Kent State fraternity allegedly chanted a discriminatory phrase directed at the Spanish and Latino Student Association during Saturday’s Homecoming parade.

According to SALSA’s social media accounts, members of the fraternity chanted “build that wall,” a phrase referring to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s platform. Trump’s proposed wall bordering the United States and Mexico and his stance on immigration have been controversial.

SALSA tweeted to Kent State President Beverly Warren on Saturday, asking for her support, and writing they were upset they had to question their safety. Warren responded with an apology, tagging Shay Little, vice president for student affairs, to explore the concern.

Amanda Michalak, senior political science major and head of SALSA’s public relations, said she saw students begin chanting when SALSA members passed.

“We were walking past frat row and heard one person yell ‘build that wall,’” Michalak said. “All of the sudden, 20 to 30 people were chanting it. We just raised our flags a little higher.”

Michalak posted on her Facebook account Monday, writing that she saw Sigma Chi chanting the phrase.

Samuel White, president of Sigma Chi, said he apologized for what happened to SALSA, but he strongly believes it was not his fraternity.

“Those types of things we don’t condone,” White said. “Our values are strong to us. Respect is a big factor. We’re doing our research too.”

Natalia Roman, former SALSA president and current Undergraduate Student Government representative, was with the USG float and not the SALSA march during the parade. Still, she said she took the event very personally.

“In my four years here, I have never felt unwelcome,” Roman said. “The support of the community has been huge.”

SALSA President Rachel Mason will make a comment Tuesday. She answered a media call Sunday, but said she wants her organization to meet with the university’s Division of Student Affairs before speaking publicly.

University Spokesman Eric Mansfield said the university is looking into the incident.

McKenna Corson is the international/grad affairs reporter and Emma Keating is the arts and sciences reporter. Contact them at [email protected] and [email protected]