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UNH sorority sisters won't be punished for singing N-word

Union Leader Correspondent

September 21. 2017 4:24PM
Members of the Alpha Phi sorority at UNH will not be disciplined for singing the N-word and posting it online. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DURHAM – A spokesman for the University of New Hampshire says members of the Alpha Phi sorority will not be disciplined for singing a song that includes the N-word.

Earlier this week, a video was posted online that shows the sorority sisters dancing and singing the rap song “Gold Digger.” All Eyes on UNH, which describes itself as members of the UNH community that hold the mirror up to those who act unjustly, shared the video on Facebook.

An administrator for All Eyes on UNH wrote, “The girls sing the n-word without thinking of the implications. This is a showcase of ignorance and that the Panhellenic Council should do better in combatting racism. The first step is addressing willful ignorance.”

That Facebook post received 164 comments, reflecting many sides of the issue. On Thursday, UNH spokesman Erika Mantz said statements made by college officials suggesting there would be an investigation and possible disciplinary actions were not accurate.

“The students have apologized and will play an active role in working to improve our campus culture as we move forward,” Mantz wrote in an email.

Mantz emphasized UNH’s commitment to the First Amendment and the school’s obligation in helping students understand how their words and actions might impact other members of the community.

Mantz said school officials believe the sorority sisters “showed poor judgment.”

“We will continue to work to ensure every member of our community feels respected,” Mantz wrote.

This incident occurred while UNH officials are working to identify issues of race, inclusion and civility on campus following a turbulent end to the academic year this spring. President Mark Huddleston has charged a Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate with releasing a final report by Jan. 19, 2018.

Megan Shields, Eta Alpha Chapter President of the Alpha Phi Fraternity, submitted a letter of apology dated Sept. 20 regarding the incident:

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