Statement Regarding University of Pennsylvania Social Media Groups

Brothers of the University of Pennsylvania’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon have learned of GroupMe and Facebook groups that targeted African-American students at Penn. In those groups, individuals attacked African-Americans with reprehensible racial slurs and language. One name implicated involvement from SAE. However, none of the members are a part of the group nor are involved in any way with any of the posts or hatred directed toward individuals.

The following statement was released by the chapter members after being falsely implicated in the posts:

Our chapter rejects any association whatsoever with the GroupMe messages, Facebook groups, and the unacceptable and intolerable racism that is associated with those groups. Racism has no place in our chapter or in the Penn community. We are shocked, horrified and enraged by these attacks on members of our community.

Our chapter remains committed to diversity and inclusion, and we will do anything we can to support the African-American members in our chapter and the broader African-American community at Penn. We will continue to stand up against these threats to our brothers and fellow students.

In March of 2015, Sigma Alpha Epsilon launched a four-pronged initiative to address diversity and inclusion, as well as cultural awareness, in our organization. All of our collegiate members were provided a diversity-and-inclusion training program as part of our comprehensive training modules, and all new members must complete similar training before they can be initiated into the fraternity.

In July of 2015, the organization hired our Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Ashlee Canty, who is responsible for overseeing the development, promotion and implementation of strategies that lead to enhanced diversity within our organization. Her position is the first such staff role established by a major North-American fraternity or sorority.

In her role, Canty meets with chapters to ensure they are implementing initiatives set forth by the fraternity’s leadership and attends leadership conferences to have conversations with undergraduates and alumni about their personal identity. The education we provide focuses on empowering our members to create a culture of acceptance, to ensure their chapter is welcoming and to educate them on bystander behavior in incidents of bias.

Canty also serves as the chief staff liaison to our Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, a group that consists of undergraduates, alumni and non-members who are subject-matter experts on issues related to diversity. The committee also proposed our Position Statement on Diversity & Inclusion, which was approved unanimously by delegates at our national convention last summer.




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