Friday, November 09, 2007

T-shirts Tell Much About You

Delta Chi T-shirt offends parts of Miami U. greek community
By Laura Bryant

A slogan written on Delta Chi fraternity's rush T-shirts this semester has caused some controversy within the greek community at Miami University.

"(The meaning of the slogan) is to be left up to the person reading the shirt," said Anthony DePina, president of the Delta Chi chapter at Miami.

"No one over 150 after 1:50" was printed on the backside of the Delta Chi rush shirts.

The slogan has been interpreted by some on Miami's campus to mean "No girl over 150 pounds after 1:50 a.m."

According to DePina, the rush shirt was only worn by brothers from the Delta Chi house.

"Usually rush shirts just have phrases on them that guys will remember in association with the name," DePina said.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) met with Delta Chi Monday to discuss repercussions from the shirt slogan.

"Delta Chi would first of all sign a contract ensuring IFC that they would not be wearing the shirt anymore in public or in view of anyone," said Michael Simon, vice president of public relations for the IFC. "Secondly, they are writing a letter of apology to (the) Panhellenic (Association) as well as all sororities on campus and the Women's Center."

Delta Chi will also be working with student ambassadors from the Women's Center on issues of programming, Simon said.

"(Delta Chi) will be in full compliance and are very apologetic," Simon said.

Claire Dickerson, vice president of public relations for the Panhellenic Association at Miami, said the Panhellenic community has been working to build confidence in women and is discouraged by the slogan on the shirt.

"We feel that wearing this shirt undermines the message of self-acceptance we hope to cultivate in all our chapter members and forces women to unfairly question their body image," Dickerson said, via e-mail. "The Panhellenic community is working hard to instill confidence in women and celebrate the beauty of being a woman, independent from the number she sees on the scale. We are disturbed that a Greek chapter would work against our goal of self-acceptance and inner beauty."According to Rebecca Bailey; president of the Kappa Delta chapter at Miami, a sorority that worked on a philanthropy with Delta Chi for the first time last year; at least 90 percent of the members of Kappa Delta signed a petition asking Delta Chi to no longer wear the shirt and stating some form of proper action was needed in response.

"We decided not to invite Delta Chi to help us with the philanthropy ... before their shirts came out, but once I learned about the shirts it definitely reinforced the decision not to help us," Bailey said.

According to Dickerson, sororities have been given the opportunity to sign a letter to voice how they feel about the message of the shirts.

"The Panhellenic Standards Board is working on a collective response to the shirts by bringing the Panhellenic community together to voice the community's opinion," Dickerson said via e-mail. "We offered women in our chapters the opportunity to sign a letter explaining discomfort and disappointment in the message of the shirts. We hope this will explain our frustration with these recruitment T-shirts and work as a mechanism for women who feel marginalized or insulted to voice their opinion."

Gamma Phi Beta has signed a petition concerning the shirts, according to Katherine Ruhl, president of the Miami chapter.

"We previously thought really highly of Delta Chi ... we were just really shocked they would have a shirt that had such an offensive slogan on it," Ruhl said.

According to Ruhl, Gamma Phi Beta is more concerned with how the shirts reflect on the Greek community.

"The greek community has been working really hard on being an all inclusive environment," she said. "I think that the shirt is offensive to a lot of people and just reflects poorly on the Greek community as a whole."

Ruhl said she does recognize that not all members of Delta Chi were in favor of the shirts.

"The actions of a few people have consequences for a lot of people," Ruhl said. "I have no doubt that this wasn't a decision made by the whole of Delta Chi. Things like this don't reflect the views of everyone in their chapter."

DePina has asked the members of Delta Chi to no longer wear the shirts.
(C) 2007 The Miami Student