Sorority step show raises questions about university policy

Sorority step show raises questions about university policy

(WMC-TV) -The University of Memphis allegedly did not allow a sorority to perform a step show outside of the University Center.  It raised questions as to who is allowed to use the University Center courtyard on campus.

Those sorority members say the step performance is a historic event the sorority has put on for decades. It is known as strolling or stepping on the yard.

"There is no policy that says students can't have step shows here," said Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Danny Armitage.

"To my understanding it was just a 'No', that they couldn't do so," said Kirstin Cheers, National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Members of the Epsilon Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. were reportedly denied the use of the area to host a step show.

Student Affairs says there was a scheduling conflict.

"Step shows will get several hundred people and so we want to figure out the best way of logistically handling it," said Armitage.

"That's the main thing, we get 'it would be a fire hazard and people wouldn't be able to enter the building'," said Marlon Ross, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Marlon Ross says his Greek organization was also previously refused the use of the area and believes the administrators are intimidated by the culture and large crowds.

Tori Griffith works with Greek Affairs as a liaison between students and the administration.

"If you are not a part of a fraternity or sorority it can be intimidating, the strolling, the stepping, the calling, the chanting," said Griffith.

Because the traditional area for stepping near the campus fountain had already been booked, Griffith says the Delta sorority voluntarily moved their event.

"They were told that we were willing to have a conversation about it and figure out how can we make it work," said Griffith.

Griffith says the lines of communication are always open and the university is willing to accommodate any organization.

"They may feel that they have been disenfranchised and if that is how they feel then we should have those conversations," she said.

The Delta sorority did eventually host their step-show in a lecture hall on campus, but say it was crowded and uncomfortable.

Administrators say the group is welcome to use the courtyard in the future, but they must plan ahead.

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