Panhel condemns racist photos involving sorority members found in old GW yearbooks

The Panhellenic Association released a statement Monday condemning and apologizing for several racist photos involving sorority members uncovered in old GW yearbooks this week.

“The Panhellenic Association and our member chapters offer our sincerest apologies to all who have been impacted by these racist images and the divisive and degrading messages they represent,” the statement reads. “This serves as a reminder of Panhellenic’s marked history and why it is vital to continue to hold our organizations and members to a high standard of cultural sensitivity.”

The Panhellenic Association wrote that the organization “in no way tolerates nor supports” resurfaced images of people wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan hoods in editions of The Cherry Tree yearbook as recent as 1977.

At least four of the photos unearthed in a Hatchet analysis of dated yearbooks involve the sororities Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi and Phi Sigma Sigma. The chapter presidents of each of those organizations denounced the pictures individually in statements to The Hatchet last week.

Panhellenic Association officials said the photos are “particularly disparaging” because students are currently observing the Black Heritage Celebration.

“The Panhellenic Association and its member organizations stand committed to working with our community as we strive to live out our values every day in thought, word and action,” the statement reads.

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