‘Intimidating, aggressive or alienating’
Stanford University’s Sigma Chi chapter was shut down in May over allegations of “risk management concerns and accountability issues within the chapter.” But before that happened, the fraternity was on probation and worked to improve its image.
It’s now come to light that during that time, the young men reportedly got some interesting advice from an administrator tasked with helping them gain a better reputation with the campus community, the Stanford Review reports, citing student Pablo Lozano as the source but noting other individuals, who asked not to be named, have corroborated his account:
… while on probation, Sigma Chi sought to make itself “an ally of the university.” An administrator assigned to serve as a liaison between Residential Education and Sigma Chi – let’s call him Mr. Z – was, in Lozano’s words, “supportive” in trying to help Sigma Chi outlast probation and “transparent” in explaining often obscure bureaucratic processes. The Sigma Chi brothers appreciated the candid and genuine guidance that Mr. Z offered them throughout their fight for survival.
This context of a friendly relationship with Mr. Z made the following incident all the more surprising. One night during Autumn 2017, Lozano recounted, Mr. Z was invited to eat dinner at Sigma Chi. While discussing improving the fraternity’s image with the university, Mr. Z offhandedly suggested that Sigma Chi remove the potentially discomforting symbol outside: the American flag flown in front of the house. Mr. Z urged Sigma Chi to consider the image being presented to the rest of campus by flying the flag out front. He furthered that if Sigma Chi wished to break away from stereotypes that plagued the house and to change its perception on campus, its members should contemplate un-hoisting the American flag.
… Lozano understood Mr. Z to imply that the American flag, as a symbol, could be intimidating, aggressive or alienating. Mr. Z’s tone further signaled to Lozano that he found the mere sight of the American flag to be offensive.
But what these frat guys did next was pretty darn awesome. The Review reports:
In protest of Mr. Z’s suggestion, the house declined to remove the flag, instead choosing to replace it with an even bigger one. Some members, of course, abstained from the discussion about and decision to purchase a bigger flag. The following day, by Lozano’s doing, Sigma Chi upgraded from a three-by-five-foot flag to a four-by-six-foot flag. The former flag was then framed and placed on display inside the house. This decision was, in Lozano’s words, a “silent but visible protest” against the classification of the American flag as a potentially stigmatizing symbol by a member of the Stanford administration.
Read the full article at the Stanford Review.