by Maggie McNeary, Amanda Nettles & John Anderson
Editor, Campus Life Editor & Staff Writer
UCA fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma has officially been suspended by its national chapter after a member posted an Instagram photo displaying his face covered in black paint.
Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity brother and sophomore Brock Denton posted the photo of himself in a multicolored sweater with the caption “It was a bold night.” The fraternity held a Halloween party at its house Friday Oct. 28.
UCA President Tom Courtway posted a letter on UCA’s social media outlets regarding the incident.
“A short time ago we were made aware of a picture on social media showing what is purported to be a UCA student wearing blackface. This picture is highly offensive and repugnant, and this representation goes against all we, at UCA believe in and stand for,” he wrote.
In the letter, Courtway said the picture would be investigated and “dealt with accordingly.”
Dean of Students Gary Roberts announced that the fraternity’s activities have been suspended until the investigation is over and appropriate measures have been taken into effect.
According to UCA’s Twitter, Sigma Tau Gamma has been suspended by the fraternity’s headquarters. According to UCA’s Interfraternity Council Twitter, the council has “disowned” and “suspended” the fraternity.
In a now-deleted tweet, the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity said “after reviewing the recent inappropriate and offensive behavior of one [of]our members, that member has been expelled indefinitely.”
UCA senior Haley Jones said she was “shocked” that this happened at UCA.
“I don’t think dressing up like a black person with black paint on was respectful,” she said.
Junior Alexis Downing was also surprised that this happened at UCA.
“In Greek life we talk about diversity so much and having that Halloween party was not a good representation of diversity. As an African-American, I am very offended by it,” Downing said.
Jones and Downing are not alone in their disapproval of the incident. The picture was widely condemned on social media.
In response, Denton posted a blank photo on his Instagram page, with a caption regarding the incident.
“Within a matter of a few hours social media has made me out to be a monster, a racist, a supremacist and those are just three of the many hateful names I have been called. I have been sent death threats, threats to burn my house down,” he said in the caption.
Denton said he was “the furthest thing from discrimination” and that he “fight[s]for equality everyday.” He went on to apologize and said he never would “have done this if I would have known the domino effect that [would]follow.”
At least two comments below the photo indicated the posters still blamed Denton for his actions. Denton replied to the comments.
“I can honestly say I’ve never heard of black face before until today. Believe me or don’t but at this point all I can do is be truthful,” he said. The entirety of Denton’s apology can be read below.