Editorial: Campus deserves transparency

When new leaders first came to campus, we were excited for the changes that would bring. Administration spoke in a straightforward manner and didn’t include any political side-stepping. This was finally the transparency we had been waiting for.

We hoped this straight-shooting would trickle down and we would ultimately be living on a more forthright campus. However, with the silence following recent events, we’re left wondering if we got our hopes up too soon.

There has been talk across campus and social media about an incident involving members of sorority Pi Beta Phi and fraternity Delta Tau Delta, claiming individuals in the greek-life organizations played a beer pong game with anti-Semitic themes. Students claim to know about the occurrences from posts on the picture and video app Snapchat and the anonymous social media-sharing app Yik Yak.

Although the specifics remain foggy, the incident apparently occurred on university-owned property sometime on or before March 29. The actions of a few of their members led to an investigation from Pi Beta Phi Headquarters, but no public statements have been released.

We reached out with specific questions to the assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life, the fraternity’s and sorority’s respective headquarters, the chapter presidents, the university spokesperson and some individual chapter members, and we have received no answers about the incident or specific actions taken since it occurred.

“Pi Beta Phi investigated an incident involving a few of our members that was not representative of our values-based organization or with Pi Phi’s policies,” Eily Cummings, Pi Beta Phi Headquarters’ marketing and communications director, said. “We are currently working with them through the member accountability process.”

Chief Operating Officer of Delta Tau Delta Jack Kremen would not comment on whether or not there’s an investigation stemming from its headquarters, but he said Bradley’s chapter of the fraternity “routinely exhibits accountability within its membership and its executive committee.”

The president of the Interfraternity Council, which represents 15 fraternities on campus including Delta Tau Delta, claimed he knew nothing of any situation going on in the fraternity. Additionally, Pi Beta Phi’s current president and former president from this academic year declined to comment, and the president of Delta Tau Delta said “there’s no need to discuss it with outside individuals” on campus.

But this isn’t true.

There is a conversation to be had here. Talking about this incident could help our university continue the conversation in order to embrace and foster diversity and inclusion, which is a topic numerous administrators and students have said Bradley is trying to improve.

Having a discussion on why this incident was offensive is important to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Administrators or individuals involved in the incident could have made a statement about what happened and how it is being handled to reassure those who were offended that it is being taken seriously, but instead, campus is left in the dark and reaching for answers.

Their silence indicates that what happened is something we should ignore, when it absolutely is not.

Because this situation is not openly being discussed, students have resorted to asking questions on social media apps, like Yik Yak. Rumors range from individuals saying nothing is being done to discipline the fraternity and sorority members involved, while others speculate these members have now been expelled from Bradley. Rumors only further blur the facts, distort perspectives and risk harming reputations over the long term.

When ACBU brought N*W*C* to campus, there was an incident in which racial slurs on one of its marketing materials were not asterisked. ACBU directly confronted this issue, admitted they were wrong and apologized publicly. This is not to directly connect the two events, but rather to draw attention to the manner in which ACBU handled the controversy.

And we commend ACBU’s approach. The organization didn’t try to sweep it under the rug or avoid the issue. Those responsible for the current situation should take notes. It should be handled with transparency and honesty because the issue has come to light, and this apparent lack of action is not appropriate. In actuality, hiding is worse than admitting to making a mistake so there can be talk about what is being done to correct it.

We are humans; we make mistakes, and that’s OK because college campuses are meant to be places of learning. We need those involved to show they are taking steps to learn from their faults and start this valuable conversation.