Pi Beta Phi sorority is facing sanctions from Baylor University after an eight-second video posted on social media showed members chanting along to an expletive-laden rap song with the N-word.
A member with Pi Beta Phi reportedly posted a video on Instagram on Jan. 10 of members, apparently in the sorority’s chapter room, singing along with rapper Sheck Wes’ hit song “Mo Bamba.”
The video then circulated on Twitter, prompting thousands of views and reactions from followers on Instagram and Twitter, many of them negative. Administrators launched an inquiry into the video, and on Thursday, Baylor Vice President for Student Life Kevin P. Jackson announced that the 250-member sorority will be held accountable for the “racially insensitive” video.
“The organization, in coordination with the university, has identified internal accountability practices, cultural awareness education and ways to address the individuals responsible and the organizational culture that resulted in the racially insensitive behavior,” Jackson said in a statement. “The university has accepted the mutually agreed-upon sanctions and will continue to work with the organization to enhance the educational opportunities afforded by this process.”
Jackson said that the sorority has taken full responsibility for the incident and apologized for their actions. He said the brief video does not reflect Baylor’s values.
“We are deeply disappointed because we have high standards of conduct for our students and the organizations to which they belong,” Jackson stated. “Baylor is strongly committed to our Christian mission, which includes understanding the importance of cultural sensitivity and ensuring we are respectful of the words that we use and their potential effect on others.”
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said the university will enforce sanctions including the cancellation of the sorority’s major spring social event. Funds for that event will be reallocated to a mandatory cultural awareness workshop for its full membership and the group partner with the multicultural affairs and other groups to co-sponsor a cultural awareness education program for the entire student body.
The song, recorded in 20 minutes by young African-American rapper Sheck Wes in 2017, became a club hit in 2018. The title referred to his friend, NBA rookie Mohamed Bamba, but the lyrics feature drug use, abundant profanity and derogatory references to women as well as the repeated use of the racial epithet.
Officials said the song was played for about 30 seconds before organization officials turned off the music. Pi Beta Phi members released a statement, saying singing along to the music at their chapter function was insensitive.
“The lyrics of this song do not align with Pi Beta Phi’s core values nor do they exemplify what our organization stands for,” the sorority said. “Chapter leadership swiftly took action to address this behavior and hold members accountable for these inappropriate actions.”
Baylor NAACP stated the behavior should not be tolerated and would like to work with the National Pan-Hellenic Council to host an educational program for student organizations to better understand social responsibility.
The sorority consulted with its national headquarters and members will undergo cultural awareness and sensitivity training.
According to www.collegedata.com, U.S. students are 65.6 percent white. About 6.5 percent of students are black and 15.8 percent of students are Hispanic.