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Dr. McIver responds to racial remarks made by UNM sorority members

The University of New Mexico chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority has recently come under fire for racial remarks that were allegedly made by members of the sorority during a welcoming event for new Greek Life members.

As previously reported by the Daily Lobo, the remarks were made during a presentation by Dr. Stephanie McIver, director of Counseling Services at SHAC, which focuses on mental health, anxiety and the various resources available at SHAC.

Now, McIver has issued a letter in response.

In her statement McIver said she was unaware of the comments until they were reported on, but also said “none of (the black staff and faculty) are shocked that this occurred.” McIver also said she was not hurt by the comments, as African-Americans often have to deal with racialized statements at some point during their lives.

“If one is Black in America, chances are racial epithets and racialized comments have been slung about them or at them,” McIver said. “This does not pain us, nor deter us.”

McIver also lauded the student members of Black Student Alliance, who first published a statement regarding the “negative remarks about Black people.”

The statement said that members of Kappa Kappa Gamma joked about McIver during her presentation, eventually making remarks such as “Black people get away from me” and “take off your grills.”

McIver ended her statement by saying that the consequences of racism are not in the words said by the KKG members, but in the adult decisions they may make later life that affects the lives of African-Americans.

“We don't really care what you think, we care what you do,” she said.

Full statement is below:

Hello Lobos,

I wanted to chime in on the article written about the sorority women making racialized statements about me during the Mental Health workshop on Monday night. Imagine my surprise to see myself mentioned on the front page of the Daily Lobo about an incident I was, frankly, oblivious about. Like all my professional colleagues in Student Affairs working for these students, we're usually too busy getting stuff done to notice that you may not like us. I assure you, I am not wounded, not even the slightest. As that adage says, "What other people think about me is none of my business."

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Still, I want to commend the students who observed this and spoke up to their leadership about this racist behavior. It takes courage to speak up, to shine a light on racism to contribute to America's growth and growing awareness that racism really does exist; sometimes right under our very noses. I thank those students for defending my honor, and the honor of all Black staff and faculty at UNM who deserve to be treated with respect. I am confident that none of us are shocked that this occurred. If one is Black in America, chances are racial epithets and racialized comments have been slung about them or at them. This does not pain us, nor deter us.

What does pain us is that people who hold these hostile attitudes may be in a position to make decisions about another Black person's life; judicial decisions, healthcare decisions, housing decisions, academic decisions, job decisions, financial decisions, life/death decisions... This is the true cost of racism in America. We don't really care what you think, we care what you do. So my recommendation is that these young women become more educated about this reality in America and the role they are choosing to play in either edifying...or sullying...our potential.

Stephanie D. McIver, Ph.D.

Director, Counseling Services

Student Health & Counseling

Kyle Land is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.

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