March 12, 2014

Students to rally for social change

PLATTSBURGH — Use of the N word on a frat-party list has prompted a rally by SUNY Plattsburgh students today to combat discriminatory and hurtful language and thinking.

On March 1, Michael Haynes, a student and president of AKEBA, the black student union on campus, was working at the information desk in Angell College Center when, he said, when a Nu Theta Gamma member handed him a paper.

Haynes said he saw that the words “Don’t be a (N word). Don’t let these people into the party” were written on the back of a list that included 20 names of people who were not invited to a fraternity event.


In response to messages from the Press-Republican to the fraternity president, member Ramon Dario Sanchez called to take responsibility for use of the N word. He said he didn’t actually hand the paper to Haynes but had set it down near him when he had seen an acquaintance near the information desk.

“He saw it on the page as I set the page down, and he became rightfully upset,” Sanchez said.

He said he typed up the list and included the epithet “without considering the historical background of the word.”

He said he apologized to Haynes multiple times for his “insensitive actions” and then crossed the words off the list.

“I’d like to send my condolences to whomever I may have offended by my insensitivity,” Sanchez said, adding that he is a new member of Nu Theta Gamma.


“It’s sad, but at the same time, it’s not surprising,” Haynes said of use of the word on the list. “These are the norms of society.”

He moved to organize students to respond to the incident.

“I’m going about this peacefully. We don’t really want to attack them, but we want to educate them.”

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