Our View: Homecoming chant demands university’s attention

The Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA) — participants in Saturday’s Homecoming parade — claimed via social media that a fraternity chanted “build that wall” at them as they marched by. Sigma Chi was later revealed as the purported fraternity behind the xenophobic actions.

We are collectively saddened that such unwelcoming rhetoric had any place at an event meant to display our pride as one student body. While we respect individuals’ rights to express their political views, this was an obvious and deliberately hateful act targeted at a specific subset of students.

If concrete proof emerges that Sigma Chi is behind the chant, then the university must take resolute action to ensure that the fraternity’s unwelcoming words have no place on this campus.

We commend President Beverly Warren and Kent State’s swift response and efforts to address SALSA’s concerns. However, the university’s message from this point forward must be clear: The importance of protecting Kent State’s core values far exceeds the importance of maintaining one fraternity.

If this is a problem embedded in Greek life that extends beyond Sigma Chi — if other fraternities are similarly insensitive away from the public eye — then Greek culture requires an immediate adjustment.

Kent State is home to countless fraternities and sororities that pride themselves on their service and commitment to enhancing the Kent State community; sadly, the alleged affront from Sigma Chi toward SALSA is indicative of a more inclusive environment that would prefer to put up walls rather than promote a harmonious student body.

Samuel White, president of Sigma Chi, was quick to dismiss that his fraternity was at fault, claiming that such actions are ones that “we don’t condone.” He went on to claim that “respect is a big factor” to the group.

Whether or not Sigma Chi acted on its own accord or was even involved, SALSA students should not have left the parade feeling as if their heritage was attacked. We implore Kent State to take this situation seriously and commit itself to making sure that students can comfortably call Kent State their home, regardless of their backgrounds.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of The Kent Stater editorial board.