Letter to the Editor: The University of Connecticut NAACP Chapter Denounces UConn Storrs Racism & Bigotry

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To the University of Connecticut Administration and Faculty,

October 21, 2019

Storrs, Connecticut. The University of Connecticut National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Chapter was made aware of two deplorable forms of visual media involving University of Connecticut (UCONN) students and alleged members of Delta Epsilon Psi. The video containing demeaning, hurtful and hateful rhetoric by a group of three Caucasian males walking in the parking lot of Charter Oaks Apartments gained media traction on Friday, October 11, 2019. A photo containing allegedly two members of Delta Epsilon Psi and a caption that explained that these members called her a racial slur and belittled her at their fraternity party. Our President received a detailed report of the racial incident and the following events from a third party closely involved with the victim. As representatives for students of color on this campus, we are on high alert. If the university does not adequately address and handle these occurrences of racism appropriately, it will create a culture in which racism is tolerated and normalized. We demand for your full assurance that you will take appropriate measures to hold the students involved in these heinous acts of racism accountable.   

As the UConn Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, we understand that we live in a post-civil rights era in which racism has been rendered irrelevant. Fully aware of these false assumptions, we believe our mission to secure racial equality is just as relevant today as it was many years ago. Black students at this university account for about 7% of the student population. We have a collective responsibility to ensure their dignity, safety, and rights as students of UConn are protected.   

The use of hate speech is unacceptable. Such conduct should not be humored or pacified due to their age and supposed lack of consciousness. The actions made by the three individuals & alleged members of Delta Epsilon Psi are highlights of bigotry and the regurgitation of white supremacy. Their language and disregard for the holistic existence of others must result in the rendering of proper disciplinary action(s). Therefore, we urge the University of Connecticut officials to fully investigate this incident and apply the proper justice. 

The ready use of such language and rhetoric displays a lack of compassion, morality, and respect amongst the UCONN community. 

Regards, 

NAACP UConn Executive Board 

LIST OF DEMANDS

The UCONN Chapter of the NAACP demand the University of Connecticut Executive Cabinet, Dean of Students, President, Office of the Provost, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Office of Community Standards & the Office of Institutional Equity ensure the following:  

  1. That Delta Epsilon Psi issue a public apology to the victim of the racial discriminatory harassment that occurred at the fraternity party Saturday, October 12, 2019, without disclosing her identity. That they also issue a public apology to the entire UConn community. 

  2. That Delta Epsilon Psi be thoroughly investigated and evaluated in regard to the case at their party and any other incidents and take proper measures of disbandment for violating the university policy against Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Interpersonal Violence, Student Code of Conduct, and failing to uphold the Intercultural Greek Council (IGC) standards.  

  3. That the students who exposed both acts of Hate Crime to be shielded from any acts of intimidation, harassment, or retaliation, that they be protected and given the full support of the University of Connecticut. 

  4. That the University issue a public statement condemning acts of racism on UConn’s campus. 

  5. That the University of Connecticut design, implement, and consult with NAACP UConn the creation of specific guidelines in the Student Code of Conduct and consequences by the Office of Community Standards for instances of racism/hate speech in public areas and racism/hate speech directed at individuals in public and/or private areas committed by students, faculty, or staff. 

  6. That the university create and implement a First Year Experience course on diversity, racial discrimination, hate crimes, and consequences of such acts, that every student is required to take in order to graduate in all colleges under the university. 

  7. That the university begins a large cluster hire of Black administration, faculty, staff and police officers. This cluster must be no less than 10 hired, equally distributed across professions. This said hire cluster must be maintained through all labor union contracts ending in 2021. 

  8. That these demands be fulfilled by the Spring 2020 semester. 

This letter has been updated from the version published on 10/21 to say “alleged members of Delta Epsilon Psi” rather than “members of Delta Epsilon Psi” on all mentions. The second demand was also changed from “That Delta Epsilon Psi be disbanded for violating the university policy against Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Interpersonal Violence, Student Code of Conduct, and failing to uphold the Intercultural Greek Council (IGC) standards,” to the current statement.

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