The Black Student Alliance (BSA) of the University of New Mexico has rejected an apology sent to them from the University of New Mexico Gamma Beta chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority in regards to racial comments made by KKG members at the New Member Summit for Greek Life.
Members of BSA issued a response statement rejecting the apology, because the letter they received is the same as another letter sent to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., an historically African-American serving fraternity. Both letters were concerning the comments made KKG members.
“The words are exactly the same,” said Arlen Nelson, president of the UNM Alpha Phi Alpha and a member of the Black Student Alliance.
In the statement, BSA said they are “extremely disappointed and offended by the apology,” and stated that they did not accept the apology. The statement also says that “the apology is a duplication of a prior apology issued to another organization.” The statement pointed to KKG’s reference to BSA as a “chapter,” a common designation for fraternities and sororities on campus, as proof of duplication.
On Sept. 28, UNM KKG posted a short apology letter on their Facebook page. This post differed significantly from the letter that was sent to both BSA and Alpha Phi Alpha over email, including only snippets of what was sent to the organizations.
In the letter, which was signed by KKG chapter president Bailey Miller, KKG apologized “for the actions that occurred at the New Member Summit.” While not addressed specifically, the actions referenced involved members saying racially insensitive comments during the summit, including one member saying, “Black people get away from me” and “Take off your grills.”
The letter states the member who said the comments is not longer affiliated with the organization. BSA said in their statement that removing the member was never in their list of demands given to KKG.
“You cannot simply remove one member and change the culture of your organization,” BSA’s statement read.
Nelson said that he felt unsatisfied by the content of the letter.
“We didn’t ask for apologies,” Nelson said, adding that the apology letter does not reflect what BSA asked of KKG.
Nelson also said the letter was disheartening, because talks between Alpha Phi Alpha and KKG following the incident seemed promising.
The letter from KKG finishes by saying, “We look forward to continuing this conversation and working together.” Nelson said representatives of KKG have not met with BSA as of yet.
Nelson said that the apology letter points to problems within the culture of the sorority and UNM as a whole.
“To have no sincerity or even acknowledge what (the problem) is… that’s the problem,” Nelson said. “It’s a whole thing bigger than Kappa Kappa Gamma.”
Nelson said that BSA has met with President Garnett Stokes, calling it “a really helpful conversation.”
The Gamma Beta chapter of KKG did respond to requests for comment in time for publication. The article will be updated if and when that comment is provided.
Kyle Land is the editor-in-chief for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.