Alpha Phi sorority members are facing backlash on social media after the Ole Miss Alpha Phi Instagram account posted a photo of the sorority’s diversity, equity and inclusion team in which all members of the team appeared to be white women.
The photo began to gain attention after integrated marketing and communications major Isabelle Monnin tweeted a screenshot of the post with the caption “alright girls here we go again.” As of the time of publication, the tweet has received over 5,200 retweets and over 57,600 likes. UM’s Alpha Phi chapter also made its Instagram account private today after the tweet started to gain attention.
“My point in tweeting their post wasn’t that it’s a negative thing for them to be creating a diversity team,” Monnin wrote in a followup tweet. “I just know as a former sorority member there is a way to be diverse without making an all white team of women for the cause, just actually rush the interested (women of color).”
The responses to the tweet range from support for the women in the photo to attacks on their appearance with several remarking that the only diversity in the photo is in the diversity of their hair color.
“They have different shades of white and different hair colors. That’s the diversity,” one user wrote.
Sorority members in the photo directed requests for comment to Alpha Phi Chapter President Savannah Douglas. Douglas and the sorority did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication.
Arthur Doctor, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority life, said there is a desire to ostracize and vilify students on campus who are not minorities for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I will state the facts. The fraternity and sorority community is predominantly white — overwhelmingly white — and the days in higher education are gone where we’re going to place the ownership or the onus on people of color to do the education for the majority,” Doctor said. “I’m encouraged, and I’m happy for the enthusiasm and the energy of those women in Alpha Phi.”
According to Doctor, the university’s chapters of Alpha Phi and Chi Omega were both recently directed by their nationwide organizations to create diversity and inclusion teams. He said both sororities reached out to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement for guidance on how to build their teams.
Doctor said the university community needs to have a culture in which seeking knowledge supersedes the fear of making a mistake when it comes to diversity and inclusion. He also went on to say that he did not think the women on the Alpha Phi Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team made a mistake.
“I’m hopeful that our Ole Miss community will rally around not only these women, but any student that is not a student of color or a representative of a marginalized, underrepresented population that seeks to speak up about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” Doctor said.