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DEVELOPING: DPS investigating alleged use of racist slurs at Greek Week flag football tournament | News - FlagSpin

DEVELOPING: DPS investigating alleged use of racist slurs at Greek Week flag football tournament | News

Delta Sigma Phi at Greek Week flag football game

The incident allegedly happened during a game between Delta Sigma Phi and Sigma Chi fraternities on Oct. 22. 

A member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity is alleging members of the Sigma Chi fraternity used racist slurs during the Greek Week flag football tournament on Oct. 22. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is currently conducting an investigation following this allegation.

The incident allegedly happened during a game between Delta Sigma Phi and Sigma Chi fraternities, when Jacob Leftwich — a junior management and leadership major and Delta Sigma Phi member of Chinese descent — reported Sigma Chi members shouting racial slurs at him.

According to Leftwich, the racist slur, used to target individuals of Chinese descent, was initially said by one Sigma Chi player who Leftwich declined to identify to the Loyolan.

“There was this one play, where I think I made this long catch and I was celebrating and the kid … called me a c—-, a racial slur,” stated Leftwich in an interview with the Loyolan.

Multiple Sigma Chi members on the sidelines then allegedly repeated the slur, Leftwich said.

“Their sidelines started chanting … That’s when I was like, ‘OK, what the hell?’ Because when I heard it from the guy, I was like … ‘I’m gonna brush it off, it’s not that deep to me, it’s fine.’ But then when I heard their sideline chanting it, that’s when it became an issue,” said Leftwich.

When the Loyolan contacted DPS regarding the allegations, Chief of Public Safety Robbie Williams stated in an email, “Public Safety has received a report regarding an incident during the Greek Week event and is reviewing it. There is no additional comment at this time.”

Leftwich also alleges that Sigma Chi members used other racial and ethnic slurs. However, no other sources contacted could confirm this claim.

The Loyolan reached out to the presidents of both Sigma Chi five times and Delta Sigma Phi four times regarding the incident but did not receive any response as of this article’s publication. Additionally, the Loyolan reached out to sophomore business administration undeclared major Christian Cabero, the chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Sigma Chi, eight times. Cabero told the Loyolan he would respond by Sunday, Oct. 30 but he has yet to comment as of this article’s publishing.

The LMU InterFraternity Council (IFC) was made aware of these allegations after a report from the referees was made. “IFC told [the referees] they would look into it further,” said Thomas Busse, a junior finance major who was a referee in the Greek Week football tournament, in an email to the Loyolan. The Loyolan reached out six times to senior finance and economics double major Sam Camper, the IFC delegate responsible for organizing the tournament, but received no response.

Junior recording arts major Samuel Brown, a member of Delta Sigma Phi who was playing on the field at the time of the alleged incident, noted the commotion that occurred on the sidelines. “I was playing on the field and then … I saw people getting very mad and yelling and stuff and then I immediately went over there and that’s when I was told what happened,” Brown said.

When the Loyolan asked Leftwich if he knew others who heard the alleged slur, he said that he “asked around and no one on our sideline can clearly remember hearing the word or not.”

Leftwich reported the alleged incident to the referees during the match, which prompted them to address both teams at halftime.

“I was made aware of these allegations during the first half of the game between Sigma Chi and Delta Sigma Phi,” said Busse in an email. “I took these allegations very seriously. Since none of the referees actually heard a player from Sigma Chi say what was alleged, we could not make any ejections in the game. However, we did hold a meeting during halftime in which we issued warnings to both teams.”

Delta Sigma Phi team

DPS is currently conducting an investigation after reports of the allegation were made to the IFC and SFL.

Frank Albergo, associate director of Sorority and Fraternity Life (SFL), told the Loyolan in an email, “Yes, the SFL office is aware of an allegation that a racial slur was used during one of the Greek Week football games. At this time, we do not have confirmation of an individual member or chapter that has been identified related to the slur used during the game. I have reported the allegation to the Department of Public Safety and they will investigate the incident.”

On Oct. 28, Leftwich was contacted by DPS for a meeting, which took place on Nov. 1. “The meeting with [Public Safety] went well, though I felt like they don’t have the same end goal as I do,” said Leftwich. “I understand their process and want to be patient, but the environment in the room was that they weren’t going to do anything to the Sigma Chi organization as a whole.”

Associate Vice President for Student Life Rich Rocheleau and Dean of Students Terri Mangione, Ph.D., both confirmed that they were aware of the allegations in email correspondence with the Loyolan.

“I am aware of the allegation of racial slurs being made during one of the Greek Week football games. I take allegations like these very seriously as does the University,” stated Mangione. “The incident has been reported to the Department of Public Safety for investigation. I cannot comment further regarding an active, on-going investigation.”

Director of Asian Pacific Student Services (APSS) Min-Jung Kim stated that she was “not made aware of this incident.”

“I want to emphasize that LMU is committed to maintaining an environment free of discrimination and harassment. LMU does not condone the use of racial slurs in our community,” said Kim. “For those who were affected by this situation, I would encourage them to reach out and seek assistance from any of the following resources on campus. We are here to support you.”

Leftwich expressed that safety is now a concern of his after the alleged incident. “How am I supposed to feel walking the hall knowing that they think I’m a c—-?” he said. “It doesn’t make me feel comfortable. It doesn’t make me feel safe.”

The Loyolan will continue to follow this investigation as it develops.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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