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Members’ behavior during North Carolina sorority’s racial inequity workshops leads to suspension

A national sorority suspended activities at the University of North Carolina at Asheville after most of its members left the chapter when it failed to hold discussions on racial inequities following the death of George Floyd.

“I think it was just white people just not really wanting to talk about (race),” former Alpha Xi member Kayla Bledsoe told the Asheville Citizen Times this month. “I think it’s really uncomfortable when white people personally are being called out, like they get very uncomfortable and shut down.”

In August, 25 of the 28 members of the Zeta Tau chapter of Alpha Xi Delta at the university dropped their memberships, the outlet reported. 

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Several of Alpha Xi’s members of color sought to begin a diversity, equity and inclusion committee within the sorority after watching protests following the death of Floyd last year while he was in police custody. They also asked the national office to investigate allegations of racism within the organization.

Bledsoe told the newspaper that she left the sorority after complaints of racism were not addressed.

She said leaders, including Alpha Xi’s then-president, were opposed to the committee as soon as the idea was presented. The local organization eventually relented, but what ensued led to a call for an investigation.

During committee workshops, several White sorority members, including the president, showed disinterest and were often seen not paying attention, Bledsoe said, adding that their backs were to the camera during the virtual meetings. 

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“Alpha Xi Delta takes all allegations of racism and antisemitism seriously,” Lauren Felts, Alpha Xi Delta spokeswoman, told the Asheville Citizen Times. “We do not tolerate racism or antisemitism of any kind, and we condemn all acts of bigotry, violence and hatred.”

The sorority didn’t specify whether the departures or the initial failure to form the committee triggered the suspension. 

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bill Haggard said in a statement provided to Fox News that the university supports the pause in the chapter’s activities. 

“UNC Asheville does not condone acts of racism, antisemitism, or other forms of bigotry or hatred.  Any complaint brought to the University is investigated and appropriate action is taken based on the facts of the case,” the statement said. “UNC Asheville has been working with the Alpha Xi Delta National Headquarters staff and volunteers in the investigation into allegations against certain members of the UNC Asheville chapter.”

The Zeta Tau chapter of Alpha Xi Delta did not immediately respond to Fox News’s request for comment when asked about any accusations of racism against members within the sorority. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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