This weekend was Sigma Chi’s Derby Days at Ole Miss, which at most schools is a pretty big deal. I’m not sure how or why Derby Days and SAE’s Paddy Murphy came about and continue to thrive as the leading philanthropy events, but they do. These groups have somehow managed to get every sorority really involved for an entire week, while other group’s trivia nights go virtually unattended.
This year, though, a lot of people are pissed about how Derby Days went down, mainly, because after a ton of hard work, the fraternity’s drunk host got a little inappropriate. Multiple reports claim he asked some of the women participating in the event sexual questions such as “How do you prefer your sausage: links or Sigma Chi?” (well links are bigger, so…) as well as “Which Sigma Chi would you go down on?” (I’m not sure. Which would you go down on?) and “What goes down faster, an anchor or a DG?” (a DG’s boyfriend) Here’s a clip of him asking a girl if her nickname is “BJ.”
Lotsa blow job jokes, guy. Do you have no other material? Many girls are pretty upset. The following post is going viral on Facebook.
Conversely, some girls are defending the fraternity. Many people see the questions as harmless, though explicit jokes. Sorority girl Sara Beth Childers told The DM Online the following:
“Honestly, just because they’re having a men’s club kind of humor shouldn’t take away the fact that what they’re doing is really good,” Childers said. “They should be respectful but don’t take away the great work that they do. Everybody’s become so feminist that they can’t take anything lightly. I think that she was aiming at them when it should have been aimed at the sororities individually.”
Sigma Chi president Clay Wooley is working to remedy the situation:
“Those things never should have been said,” Wooley said. “Putting it in the category of rape culture, though, that is extreme. It’s supposed to be done out of innuendo and fun but it got carried away this year and shouldn’t have taken place at all. But if anyone feels like it was encouraging rape culture, I would encourage them to reach out to me and let me know.”
“We achieved our goal. We raised 1,000 units of blood and over $25,000 for the children’s hospital. That is something that’s too important to push to the side because of one really, really bad moment,” Wooley said. “Mississippi Blood Services has come to depend on us. You can actually count the numbers of lives saved.”
Sigma Chi’s official statement is below.
Sigma Chi would like to extend a formal and sincere apology for offensive remarks made during Friday’s dance competition portion of the annual Derby Days philanthropy event.
Every year, Sigma Chi ends a week of fundraising events for Batson Children’s Hospital and donations to Mississippi Blood Services with a choreographed dance competition between Ole Miss sororities. Two Sigma Chi seniors emcee the dance competition every year, and they have always interviewed each sorority’s chosen “Derby Day Queen,” in a comedic fashion.
Sigma Chi impresses standards upon all of its members, and unfortunately these standards were not fulfilled at Friday’s event. Inappropriate language was used, inappropriate questions were asked to the queens, and there was behavior that was upsetting, not only to the competing teams, but everyone in attendance.
The Eta Chapter of Sigma Chi code of conduct specifies that members are to exercise good grace toward women, and we would like to sincerely apologize to the queens, the competing organizations, attendees of the dance, and anyone who was offended by the words and actions of any of our members. These young women are our friends and our sisters, and it would never be our intention to hurt, upset or embarrass them in any fashion.
This incident, as upsetting and unfortunate as it was, gives us an opportunity as a community to address the issue of the sexually insensitive culture that is all too prevalent in the Greek system, not only at the University of Mississippi, but also across the country. We plan to work with Rebels Against Sexual Assault to hold a workshop for our members that speaks to the severity of sexual harassment by way of verbal abuse that would also be open to the public.
We thank anyone that has come out supporting Sigma Chi because of the philanthropy, however we want to impress upon everyone how inappropriate and insensitive the remarks were. This is something that concerns not only the women involved in the event, but our community as a whole.
The events do not need to be overlooked or washed over, instead they need to be used to open an honest dialogue about making positive change in our society. Instead of arguing and fighting we need to work together to fix these issues moving forward.
Sigma Chi leadership has apologized to each sorority in person and in writing, and preliminary disciplinary action has been taken toward the members involved in Friday night’s event.
Derby Days is a storied tradition that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in its history. In all other aspects, 2016 was a successful philanthropic endeavor. We would like to thank everyone that put in so much work to help with the events, however we need to address the greater issue at hand.
Sigma Chi is committed to making necessary changes to keep the focus of this great event where it should be on a week dedicated to serving and celebrating our community. We look forward to working together to improve this event and making it more beneficial to Ole Miss for years to come and to upholding the standards expected of the members of Sigma Chi.
And so we beat on. And I ended this with a Gatsby quote, so I’m going to sit the next couple plays out..
[via The DM Online]