Members of the Stanford chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity remain tight-lipped this week after several men complained about the use of homophobic language in the chapter and said they would deactivate, sparking the attention of the Inter-Fraternity Council.
A series of e-mails between members of the fraternity began on April 3 with one member writing, “I’d appreciate it if we could stop sending out messages with the word fag in them. I know it’s not meant to be derogatory against gay people, but it does bother me.”
Another member wrote back: “Delayed April Fools?”
A flurry of replies ensued, with members denouncing the “April Fool’s” response and at least three of them saying they would deactivate.
The president of the chapter, Harris Brown ’11, called for an end to the discussion, saying the concerns about homophobic language were “legitimate” and that the e-mails were “embarrassing to our house.”
The thread circulated on campus e-mail lists, including Qnet and The Diaspora, for days afterward.
Now, it remains unclear how the chapter is dealing with the fallout. Brown, in an e-mail to The Daily, would say only that it was “an incident that first must be resolved internally, with the individuals involved, and with the University.”
One of the men who said he would leave the chapter, Zach Wettstein ’11, echoed Brown, saying they were “working through proper channels” to resolve the issue.
None of the other members involved in the flare-up returned requests for comment, including juniors Ben Halpern and Chris Winterbauer, who also said they would deactivate, and Bert McBride ’10, who first responded to the initial e-mail. The member who first raised the concern, Jon Anderson ’11, declined to speak publicly about it.
Nikola Milanovic ’11, the incoming president of the Inter-Fraternity Council and a Daily columnist, said the council was aware of the discussion in Kappa Sigma but staying out of what he called an “intra-fraternity” issue.
He said homophobia is a “salient concern” to the Greek community here.
“It’s true that there are incidences of homophobic acts in frats, and this is concerning to the IFC as well as fraternity leadership because these acts are not representative of the culture that we want to create,” Milanovic wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.
Amanda Rodriguez, the Greek program advisor for Residential Education, deferred questions about whether or not ResEd was helping resolve the dispute to Nate Boswell, an associate ResEd dean. Boswell did not return requests for comment on Monday.