Theta President Resigns

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The infamous photo. Katie Barclay is on the far right.

The infamous photo.

If you’ve been living under a rock lately, you probably still heard about Columbia’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter’s recent mixer where members of the sorority were photographed wearing offensive ethnic stereotype costumes. Chicano Caucus, Dean Martinez, the inter-Greek Council and Theta all issued statements responding to the story. And then the comments on every article written about the issue devolved into a shitstorm of anti-Theta or anti-Chicano Caucus (or anti-Bwog/Spec) vitriol, which was both unfortunate and unsurprising.

Anyway, Bwog recently learned from Theta members who would prefer to remain anonymous that the chapter’s president, Katie Barclay, CC’15, has resigned. Members of the sorority received an email earlier today informing them of her resignation. According to the Lion, Barclay’s name was removed from the national organization’s page on Columbia University’s chapter last night.

If you have any more information about Barclay’s resignation, email [email protected] or use our anonymous tip form.

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  1. That's  

    a pity. Sorry she felt the need. This might say more about us as a community than Katie.

  2. Peaches  

    Jesus, this entire thing is like we're some part of significantly less important version of House of Cards with the stakes, instead of being the national government, being the greek life at Columbia...

    • Frank Underwood  

      I have little patience for betrayal, and even less patience for racial insensitivity. The road to power is littered with controversial Facebook albums. It's a pity she resigned, but the mixers must go on. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.

  3. but she still  

    gets to do that weird theta gangsign right? the one where 2 people surround one girl in the middle and forces her to smell their armpits?

  4. I'm

    disappointed that instead of fostering a productive conversation our students found a way to attack each other, bully one another. This whole incident was blown out of proportion. People make mistakes. There was no ill intention. I have never been part of a more accepting and open community as Columbia. It shocks me to know that students can be dragged through the mud by our media. That makes me feel unsafe.

    • "unsafe"

      Nobody's named was "dragged through the mud." Nobody's. Spec merely reported facts. Bwog reported facts. The Lion reported facts. And the vast majority of the comments said "this is stupid" and Chicano Caucus, out of all the groups, was the one most actively hated on. People are also well aware there was no ill intention — which, by the way, doesn't cancel out the fact that there was cultural appropriation/distortion going on.

      • I'm

        When you equate the theta incident with cases far worse such as "Bloods and Crips" and sentiments like "will mow lawn for weed+beer," that is twisting the narrative.

      • Jessep  

        Articles from all three publications have been riddled with inaccuracies, have left out incredibly important details, and have drawn extreme and unfair comparisons between this event and those on other campuses.

        The decision to post these articles was fueled by an intention not to disseminate important and relevant campus news, but rather to create page views and further the prospective journalistic careers of the reporters and editors involved. The other night Abby Abrams, editor of Spec, called out the Columbia Lion from her private twitter account for not adding a link the Spec's piece after the Lion took Theta's statement off of Spectrum. Not only is this indicative of self serving intention, but I can't help but think that if editors spent half the time investigating and policing their own publication's articles that they apparently spend investigating and policing those of their competitors, our campus media would be much better off. Bwog, Spec, and Lion acted like vultures on a carcass regarding this story, and for that I say shame on you. Katie was a classmate of yours and a member of this community, and as such deserved better than to be hung in the square before the facts were gathered. You all tried to climb higher by standing on top of her. By attaching her name to such an irresponsibly investigated story, you have tarnished not only her reputation to future employers, but hopefully your own as well.

        Next time you want to post a story that is accusatory or potentially damaging to one of our community members, please worry less about beating each other to break the story, and more about the accuracy, thoroughness, and consequences of what you are publishing. Until then you are not journalists, but sensationalists.
        Columbia deserves better.

        • Anonymous

          "The other night Abby Abrams, editor of Spec, called out the Columbia Lion from her private twitter account for not adding a link the Spec's piece after the Lion took Theta's statement off of Spectrum. Not only is this indicative of self serving intention" — first of all, you're assuming intentions, and screw you for that. In journalism, it's routine to link to the place where you got a statement/information from. It's called citation. I'm sorry if you didn't know that.

          "...but I can't help but think that if editors spent half the time investigating and policing their own publication's articles that they apparently spend investigating and policing those of their competitors, our campus media would be much better off." — Bwog, Spec, and the Lion have all worked incredibly hard. You have no idea how much "policing" and self-investigating goes on in ALL of these publications. They all strive to uphold incredible standards. And for jesus christ's sake, why do commenters always think there's some sort of rivalry among these publications? There really isn't. We joke about it but it's all in good fun.

          "Katie was a classmate of yours and a member of this community, and as such deserved better than to be hung in the square before the facts were gathered." — being hung in the square? First of all, she posted the pictures on her Facebook. She was, furthermore, the president of Theta. Say what you will about private vs. public, the fact remains that everything she did, she did as a representative of Theta. Also, none of the media outlets attacked her at all. Nobody "hung her in the square." I'm appalled that you would even use that comparison.

          "By attaching her name to such an irresponsibly investigated story, you have tarnished not only her reputation to future employers, but hopefully your own as well." What, exactly, was so irresponsible by any of the stories' investigations? Spec, Bwog, and the Lion have all repeatedly updated with new things, with new photos, and new details that resurfaced. If there's anything that was "irresponsibly investigated," I would love for you to point out the specifics.

          "Next time you want to post a story that is accusatory or potentially damaging to one of our community members, please worry less about beating each other to break the story, and more about the accuracy, thoroughness, and consequences of what you are publishing." Again, what was inaccurate about any of the stories? To the extent of my knowledge, none of the media outlets has issued a correction, and I don't believe any of them need to. I believe the only person that needs to fact-check what they're saying is you.

  5. Someone

    should set her up with that kid from AEPi that likes to resign from stuff,

  6. Anonymous  

    Unfortunate that this happened. The costumes were a bad idea, yes, and I think some of the Theta girls did need to understand that they should be more aware of cultural appropriation, but she shouldn't have felt the need to resign from this.

  7. Concerned

    Can everyone please leave her alone now and move on. She's a great girl and she has paid more than a heavy price already.

  8. Hm...  

    When did the previous commenter equate this situation with the cases you've mentioned? Just because both are instances of cultural appropriation doesn't mean that they're equal in weight.

    • Anonymous

      If you're responding to the person with the username "I'm" a few comments above: exactly. I never equated the two incidents, nor did Spectator necessarily equate all the incidents. Just because a Spec article used other incidents of cultural insensitivity/appropriation to illustrate a point doesn't mean Spectator was saying "they are all the same."

      I personally feel that people think the worst thing is to be called a racist or to be called culturally insensitive. What's sad is that, really, the worst thing is to be blind to your own racism and cultural insensitivity, and dismiss it as "political correctness."

  9. GDI Hunter  

    Why is everyone at this school so butthurt?

    • Peaches  

      Prolly cause they fucked their culture in the ass?

      • anonytut  

        I hope you know peaches that you are a moron and should really do something better with your time then comment 100 times on every bwog post. If your so uptight about political correctness like your comments have indicated maybe you should leave your computer and go do something

        • Peaches  

          Mission to Civilize, bruh. Seriously though, it's far more constructive to make the world a civil place to live in when you attempt meaningful discourse wherever you are. People need to be held accountable for their actions even behind the veil of anonymity. I hate the term political correctness because there's nothing fucking political about it. It's just the way we should engage with each other on a damn human level, no matter where you are. It is absolutely not ok to marginalize a culture, and it is absolutely not ok to marginalize the amount of hurt it can cause someone. It is really a shame that people are coming out of the woodshed to demean those people who are working to make the world a better place to live for all people by trying to increase consciousness. Seriously, it is so fucking dumb that when someone is offended, people turn it into "lol, u mad bro?" It's not that easy. Race relations is an incredibly complex and delicate topic, especially in the United States. Does it have to be? no, but it is. So why don't we all try to take a few steps of sensitivity so we don't have to make these issues happen now or later. That, of course, also means bringing to light when something like this happens, and that of course means expressing outrage when it does happen. I don't think what the Chicano Caucus did was right either, for that matter, but don't you dare tell me that what I'm doing is meaningless at my computer. It's the wild west out here, and, well, the sheriff's in town (I really wanted to say that...)

          • sleepingWombat  

            Because some stranger on the internet is going to convince anyone who is racist to stop being racist? Your here to circle jerk about how politically correct you are and nothing else don't try to act all high and mighty

          • Peaches  

            >Because some stranger on the internet is going to convince anyone who is racist to stop being racist?

            It's not about convincing the person I'm responding to, it's about making sure that there's a voice of dissent for the people who are reading this. People are reading this, you read it, and some people haven't fully formulated a thought on this, so it's good to always have conversation. A voice of dissent is necessary so that people can at least see that there is an alternate opinion. I'm not doing something "high and mighty", I'm doing my civic duty as a person of society, as an internet commenter to provide my voice in discourse. People are swayed by far less things than articulated arguments, so I do think I'm doing something at least a bit worthwhile, and by you having read it and replied, that was all worth it.

          • dgaf  

            I just want to let you know that comment you just made was total cringe

          • Peaches  

            [insert Aaron Sorkin-ism here]

    • Captain Butthurt  

      @GDI Hunter: On behalf of the butthurt population (95% of Columbia), what else would we do with our meaningless lives? Read the Odyssey??

  10. Anonymous

    Might have been that everyone at theta was pissed at her for apologizing and wanted her to be more "fuck all y'all." Or that she figured if she resigned then this would go away and Dean Martinez's rather ominous sounding follow-up wouldn't happen.

    Kudos to her at least for not writing a wall of fuck you text like everyone who quits things, though.

    • What does this mean?

      This doesn't make sense... Katie didn't apologize personally (except apparently to the Chicano caucus?), theta as a whole did. And why would you think theta sisters wouldn't support their own president?

  11. anonymous  

    I am offended by people that are offended by the pictures! What happens now?

  12. come on ya'll  

    instead of making this a teachable moment, we've turned into a bunch of bullies. We should be better than this.

  13. Dean Fartinez

    Get over yourself. Sometimes I swear Columbians love the smell of their own farts.

  14. GDI Hunter  

    Did my comment get removed again...

  15. social justice in a nutshell

    "If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs.

    It has been said that terror is the principle of despotic government. Does your government therefore resemble despotism? Yes, as the sword that gleams in the hands of the heroes of liberty resembles that with which the henchmen of tyranny are armed. Let the despot govern by terror his brutalized subjects; he is right, as a despot. Subdue by terror the enemies of liberty, and you will be right, as founders of the Republic. The government of the revolution is liberty's despotism against tyranny. Is force made only to protect crime? And is the thunderbolt not destined to strike the heads of the proud?

    . . .
    . . . Indulgence for the royalists, cry certain men, mercy for the villains! No! mercy for the innocent, mercy for the weak, mercy for the unfortunate, mercy for humanity.

    Society owes protection only to peaceable citizens; the only citizens in the Republic are the republicans. For it, the royalists, the conspirators are only strangers or, rather, enemies. This terrible war waged by liberty against tyranny- is it not indivisible? Are the enemies within not the allies of the enemies without? The assassins who tear our country apart, the intriguers who buy the consciences that hold the people's mandate; the traitors who sell them; the mercenary pamphleteers hired to dishonor the people's cause, to kill public virtue, to stir up the fire of civil discord, and to prepare political counterrevolution by moral counterrevolution-are all those men less guilty or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve?"

  16. ok  

    be more obvious about who are you, plz

  17. Anonymous

    What in the world is wrong with all of you? If you can't dress up, drink, and have fun at a party, then I feel sorry for all of you. Get over yourselves, get over stupid political correctness. It was a party, it wasn't the UN.



  19. Down to Siesta  

    I'm tired of this

  20. Anonymous  

    "devolved into a shitstorm of anti-Theta or anti-Chicano Caucus (or anti-Bwog/Spec) vitriol, which was both unfortunate and unsurprising."

    You are not blameless in this, Bwog. You took strong, eye-rolling stances against both sides in your articles, prompting the conversation to go as it did.

  21. CC 15  

    The fact that the most life I've seen out of this student body is contained in blog comments really speaks volumes about Columbia students.

    The magnitude of offense taken over this and the amount of preaching on political correctness I've seen on an issue like this is a little bit nauseating. Are you truing to put "advocated human rights on a blog that one" on your resume?

    You're looking less like you're concerned for others and more like you're on a witch hunt. I'm so very sorry that Greek life and athletes exist, truly I am, but this is honestly getting ridiculous. It's not about political-correctness, human rights, cultural appropriation, etc. anymore. It's about some issue that this student body has with people that are in Greek life or athletes. Want to start talking about stereotypes? Do I have to bring up the Dodge Divide? Figure out your own issues before you start telling someone else they have problems, again, in a blog comment.

    There are things to get angry about. There are things for leaders to resign over. There are things that the Dean of Student Affairs should send an email to the student body about.

    Then there are parties with some costumes worn by kind-of-sort-of-pretty-really drunk girls who had zero malicious intent.

    I shouldn't have to say this but christ, people. Have some perspective.

    • mmeepp

      for fuck's sake, can you please stop trying to co-opt what has got to be a very trying situation for KC? this isn't about greek life except that theta is a sorority, and NO ONE was saying anything about athletes. stop trying to manipulate the situation for your own benefit.

      look, i'm sorry that the ny post snuck into kdr while reporting on the drug bust five years ago. i'm sorry that chad washington's arrest was reported on. i'm truly fucking sorry that bloomberg called for fraternities to be banned. and i'm most sorry of all that that doesn't mean there's not a massive conspiracy against you, as comforting as that may be to believe.

      get over the persecution complex and start thinking about the people involved.

      • CC 15  

        Buddy, if anyone has a persecution complex, it's not me. The people involved are the ones with the complex if they think that something like this is seriously worth anyone's time.

        I don't need to manipulate anything to say that there is massive stereotyping by the student body against the aforementioned groups as, basically, "stupid people who don't belong here". I could go out and a limb and say it is conspiracy-esque. Theta didn't name their party "Dress Up In Stereotypes Of Various Countries" and hold it with the intent of mocking and minimizing the worth of these people and trying to say they don't belong at our school (hint: The Dodge Divide).

        Like I said, have some perspective.

        • yeah.

          Most of my fellow students at Columbia feel so divided from athletes because, once again, sports have never been a part of their life. During Friday nights in high school, they were probably in the library and not at the football game. During the Homecoming pep rally, future Columbia students were most likely working on extra homework and problem sets.

          There is nothing wrong with making those choices. But by doing so, these students are distancing themselves from a huge and important part of life. The problem doesn’t lie with the athletes, but instead the students who surround them.

          In Contemporary Civilization, we learn about the tyranny of the majority. As only 13 percent of all Columbia students, athletes are clearly in the minority. Columbia is nothing like a democracy, but at the same time, opinions reflect the manners of the majority.

  22. curiosity  

    just out of curiosity why was dressing up in sombreros worse than the Japanese one? I'm seriously just asking and want to know.

    • Hmmm

      I don't think anyone said the sombreros one was worse than the Japanese one. It's just that the sombreros pictures became the main image for most of the articles. I personally think the Japanese one was PRETTY BAD, even if it didn't get as much of the focus.

    • because  

      the "pc police" are much more interested in cultivating icons of abjection, no matter how destructive and insidiously self-serving those images may be. They can't get no satisfaction from crying about the "model minority."

  23. Seriously though  

    The worst one of all of the pictures was the Irish one...only because the other cultures represented were non-white were they the focus of this whole controversy.

  24. cc 14  

    The Theta website is down

  25. Worth noting  

    that the impetus for the "resignation" came from the Theta national org, not anyone at Columbia. If you wanna blame someone blame them.

  26. Anonymous  

    If you get any more information, you keep it to yourself and leave that human being alone.

  27. Anonymous  

    The amount of people excusing theta's behavior is disgusting. The white use of a racial stereotype is important because it is indicative of a larger mindset in this community that race is no longer an issue, and it means they (and you, the excuser) do not care about POC as humans, just as symbols that YOU get to define. If the president of theta tried to stop this, I would feel bad for her. Stop pretending like the people getting called out for their shitty behavior are victims.

    And y'all, there cannot be anything like oversensitive political correctness when we have not yet achieved equal race relations in the first place.

    • Anonymous  

      First off, There can definitely be oversensitivity in political correctness. This whole story about a community getting upset over a party with people claiming that they're "diminishing the whole Mexican culture to a sombrero and a mustache" when really they were just trying to have a fun time and be dressed in a way where their "Olympic Team" was identifiable.

      But ignoring all of that I think a bigger problem the oversensitivity is that flat-out misplaced efforts of those trying to combat cultural appropriation. Talk to people who are actually trying to degrade a culture or the Chicano caucus for casually promoting for the exact type of caricaturization they whistle blow about.

    • anwser  

      Lets be honest as long as people consider race to be an issue, it will be an issue. By separating "whites" from everyone else in your dialog you are creating two separate groups rather than trying to create one unified group. Its great that you are promoting the advancement of a race, but until you and the many like you agree that humans should all have equality rather than POC, or women, or other minorities fighting individually for better recognition there can never be true equality. By creating this idea that everyone needs to be super politically correct a line is drawn in every person's mind that they are different from other groups. Is the goal not equality? The fact that groups such as the Chicano Caucus or the Society of Black Engineers exists creates a racial divide that is visible and is slowly etched into everyone's mind. Sure people of other races can show up to these clubs, but it is not likely to happen given the preconceived notations people get just from the club's name. If Columbia had a Society of White Male Engineers would people not think that is insensitive or not politically correct? As someone who is in favor of all race's being treated equally I would not want to be part of any of these clubs. I think our campus needs to rethink how we view race relations, because separating student groups up by race is not going to help equality emerge. Why can't we just have a society of columbia engineers or a columbia caucus? Why do we NEED this racial divide? TL;DR why can't we all be friends?

      • Anonymous  

        So your idea is just to erase history then? To ignore the centuries upon centuries of discriminatory policies and opinions that behind them systematic reasons why poc are on the whole poorer and sicker than white Americans. While we're ignoring history, let's ignore the present too. Ignore the fact that communities with majority poc have worse schools, worse access to food and health care, why poc receive lower pay and have fewer opportunities for advancement? How about we fix all those things first and then come back to your blank slate idea.

        • anon  

          The idea is to let the past be the past and make the present what we want it to be. By creating this POC vs whites dialog you are doing nothing to advance any cause but create hatred between both groups. Just like POC on average may have a disadvantage doesn't mean these issues dont affect whites also. Contrary to what your dialog suggests there are poor white communities, there are poor white's living in predominately POC communities. There are white people who cant advance in their workplace due to the need for diversity. This argument shouldnt be about race it should be about the idea that all people should be treated the same way regardless of gender or race. Lets just take one specific example of this in New York. When companies are making bids to the city to do a job, such putting up signs on telephone poles the lowest bid is not taken like one would expect, but rather it is the law that the company who is owned by a woman is given the job over lower bidders. This is unfair to both men and women because it creates a divide between the two. Equality implies equality not giving some groups special treatment to advance their position. Opportunities are naturally a economic issue, not race, which can't be solved easily, but to say that bad schools in poor neighborhoods is a POC problem is not fair to everyone else who grew up in those neighborhoods. There is no doubt that there are many inequalities in society today, but giving one group special treatment to overcome these inequalities creates another inequality that can be the source of tension between races.

          • Anonymous  

            I literally care deeply about ALL disadvantaged communities, poor whites, poor POC I'm addressing this issue, which is about race at Columbia. I don't know why you think I can only care about one group at once. You can't even divide groups neatly like that because a lot of people exist that are poor, a POC, gay, an immigrant etc all at once.

            Opportunities are not naturally an economic issue. Access to opportunities can be blocked because of economic reasons, racism, homophobia, transphobia etc or these combined.

            I'm assuming you're talking about affirmative action when you say whites can't advance because of diversity. Affirmative action helps white women the most, even over POC.

            US can't give special treatment if two groups are unequal footing to begin with, its called making up for your past mistakes, which you would know, if you've ever studied history.

            Honestly this comment points to me that we cannot "put the past behind us" because people like you never learned about US structures of racism, sexism, poverty in the first place. You're so unaware of this stuff, you must be either 12 or a redditor, but I'm gonna give you benefit of the doubt, you must be 12.


    • Anonymous

      do you know the shit storm theta is going thru, while the chicanos are going about their day probably not giving a fuck sleeping their pretty heads at night, no qualms about it. If the issue was cultural awareness, shitting on theta does nothing to help educate. all you assholes just want drama you could care less about teaching people about cultural appropriation

    • You  

      Need to shut the fuck up grace

  28. Jaded Graduate Student

    So much wall of text and this all I see.


  29. Anonymous

    I am from a third world country I definitely understand what it is like to have the world around you distort and oppress your country and culture through misleading images. However, the solution here is not to campaign against them, but rather reach out to them and ask them to join one of your meetings. That way, they will become more educated and you will have achieved your goal of raising awareness. Chicano Causes' response is counter productive because right now, all Chicanco Caucus has successfully accomplished is making sure members of Theta forever associate Mexicans and their culture with all this undeserved drama and harassment.

    • Yes!  

      Thank you! This is exactly true. There are plenty of ways to better handle this situation, that DON'T include public shaming. This incident has been a perfect example of how NOT to handle perceived cultural insensitivity.

  30. hunterhigh  

    those gurls r hawt

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