Methodist University in North Carolina suspended Alpha Delta Pi following outrage over a racist incident involving a sorority member critiquing the appearance of Black football players.
The school said in a statement Tuesday that the sorority was suspended indefinitely, pending an investigation.
"We believe in action, and we are taking action. Last week, we immediately launched a thorough investigation of a reported incident. This week, the hearing process is already underway. We will complete the hearing process as soon as we can while also following our established protocols," the university said.
"Alpha Delta Pi has been told to cease and desist from all activities."
The incident in question happened last week when a member of the sorority rated pictures of Black players on last year's football team during a PowerPoint presentation, according to NBC affiliate WRAL-TV of Raleigh. The sorority member pointed out features that she found unattractive such as dreadlocks, noses and lips, the outlet reported.
A photo of the sorority member standing next to a slide presentation containing images of the football players was posted on social media, sparking intense criticism.
"I don't see why something along the lines of this is funny. I don't see how it's funny," Ja-Quez Harrell, a student and former football player, told WRAL.
The university said it cannot comment on any possible case involving a student, but Chief Diversity Officer Quincy Malloy said the school does not tolerate racism.
"We abhor racism in any form on campus, and we immediately investigate all possible incidents of racism and act on them appropriately, as warranted by the facts," Malloy said in a statement.
President Stanley Wearden said he finds incidents of racism "deeply offensive."
"I am determined and committed to making this campus a safe and welcoming space for everyone, and I will continue to work for truth, virtue, justice, and love at MU," he said. "I believe in these principles to my core, and I will not rest until they are a reality for all people on our campus."
The school, located in Fayetteville, is a private university with about 2,300 total enrollment, according to the school's website. More than a third of students identify as students of color, officials told WRAL.
The national chapter of Alpha Delta Pi said the incident happened during a sisterhood event. The member responsible for making the comment has also been suspended and her continued participation is under evaluation, pending an investigation, the sorority said.
The school's chapter issued an apology on the national sorority's Twitter account.
“We extend our sincerest apologies to the Methodist football team, the student body, the sisters of color in our chapter, university faculty and staff, and university alumni regarding racist comments that took place at our event on September 14, 2021. We failed you, we failed the oath we made to Alpha Delta Pi, and we failed ourselves," the statement read.
"We first failed when one of our members made racist comments. It’s deeply disturbing to realize we have not created the kind of chapter culture where racial jokes wouldn’t be welcome. Then we failed our values and community by not speaking up to stop it. This is bystander behavior, and we’re deeply embarrassed that despite knowing better, we didn’t do better.”
The sorority said it deserves the suspension and plans to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion training “to educate all members and ensure that racism, microaggressions, and discrimination are eradicated from our sisterhood."