Butler LGBTQ+ community responds to fraternity vandalism

The spray-painted vandalism in front of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house included a homophobic slur. Photo by Jessica Lee.

TAYLOR THOMPSON | STAFF REPORTER | tgthomps@butler.edu

Two weeks ago, a homophobic slur was spray painted in front of the Delta Tau Delta house near campus. After this recent act of vandalism, the conversation surrounding hate speech continues to affect campus, specifically Butler’s LGBTQ+ community.

“I was furious,” MacKenzie McQueen, member of Butler Alliance, said in an email interview with the Butler Collegian. “I didn’t know what to think.”

Afterwards, the first-year biology major emailed everyone in her FYS about the incident and offered her number for anyone who was struggling because of it. She had just finished leading a three-week-long discussion on LGBTQ+ issues in the same class. Seeing hate speech on campus was an example of why “we need to do better,” McQueen said.

“It’s hard to believe someone could be that bigoted,” she said.

Ben Martella, a sophomore political science and Spanish double major, is a member of Delta Tau Delta and an openly gay man. Martella said he is not surprised by the vandalism that occurs between fraternities, but the most recent act of hate speech shocked him.  

“It was pretty hurtful,” Martella said. “My roommate also identifies as gay, and we were both like, ‘how should we feel?’”

Martella said that Greek life culture is heteronormative and can exclude members of the LGBTQ+ population who are currently in fraternities.

Nick Bentz, a junior dance pedagogy major, is a member of Delta Tau Delta.

“If I were an outsider looking in and I saw that, I wouldn’t want to be a part of Greek Life because I would fear of not being welcome there,” Bentz said. “As a gay man in Greek Life, I would fear ‘what if I joined a Greek house that did this?’”

According to the Butler University Police Department crime log, at least four incidents of vandalism have occurred on either Delta Tau Delta or Sigma Nu property this semester alone. This was the first time an incident involved hate speech. An investigation is ongoing.

After the vandalism incident, Frank Ross, vice president of student affairs, sent an email to fraternity and sorority members.

“If there are internal tensions between chapters, I encourage our chapter leaders, as well as IFC and Panhellenic Council, to use the existing campus resources to report concerns and resolve disputes,” the email read. “Our interest in all cases is to identify issues early and resolve them through constructive means.”

McQueen said she and her friends were upset with how the university handled the situation and how the administration did not address the issue of hate speech with the entire campus.

“There was essentially an uprising when ‘white power’ was written on the whiteboard of the student lounge, which I agree was important and needed, but that was also needed after ‘f****t’ was spray painted outside of a Greek house,” McQueen said.

Martella said he thinks Student Affairs should have sent letters to everyone on campus rather than just the Greek community.

“For the LGBTQ+ community, it’s directed at their identity,” Martella said. “It’s a lot more hurtful than the greater Butler community realizes.”

There are several resources on campus open for students to express their feelings in a safe environment, including the Efroymson Diversity Center, Butler’s Safe Space Training program and Student Affairs’ bias incident reporting form.

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