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Three NPHC Plots Vandalized

NPHC Plots | Photo by Caitlin Shatsby | The Wright State Guardian

Three National Pan-Hellenic Council plots on the Dayton campus of Wright State University were vandalized last week. The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. markers are the impacted plots.

About NPHC

NPHC is a coalition of nine historically African American, Greek-letter fraternities and sororities that was organized in May 1930 at Howard University. Traditions of Black, Greek-letter organizations can be traced back to days of slavery, according to Gabrielle Brown, president of the Epsilon Chi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

The nine organizations, also called the Divine Nine, are Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. (the first historically Black fraternity), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (the first historically Black sorority), Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

NPHC currently represents over 1.5 million members internationally.

“The collective social and economic power of the NPHC has been a significant source of change for the African American community in America since its inception,” the NPHC website reads.

At Wright State University, there are nine plots that symbolically and physically represent each of the organizations between University Hall and the Mathematical and Microbiological Sciences buildings near the BART sculpture.

According to Brown, the space is dedicated to the students and alumni members of the NPHC, symbolizing the positive impact that the organizations have on the community.

Each plot has a shield, the name of the organization, the members that chartered the organization, the charter date and the name of the chapter on campus. The benches are designated for the NPHC members to sit and/or take photos with their respective organizations.

“The plots are NPHC’s space to honor those who have come before us and celebrate how far we have come as organizations,” Brown said. “It is a very sacred space just for NPHC members.”

Brown explained that it is seen as a sign of disrespect to sit at the plots if you are not a member of the organizations, but NPHC welcomes the community to go in the plots and look at the information about the groups.

Student reaction to the vandalism

Treyah Gray, the NPHC president and chapter president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., and Brown said that some sorority sisters noticed that three signs were written on after Wednesday, Feb. 14.

“We often get disrespected at the plots, this isn’t the first time that something like this has occurred,” Gray said.

Brown explained that people who are not NPHC members will sit at the plots sometimes.

“Oftentimes, people will sit in the plots, but there is a sign located near the plots that states all are welcome in; however, seating is prohibited to anyone who is not a member,” Brown said. “We just ask that the public follows the requests of that sign.”

Members of NPHC were very hurt by this act.

“Those plots are a safe and sacred space for us, and they are a representation of our enriched history, and the space needs to be respected by the campus community,” Gray said.

Gray explained that the plots also serve as a memorial for members of the NPHC chapters who have passed away.

Gray notes that there is surveillance on the plots.

“We do want to mention that we do have 24-hour surveillance on the area at all times from two angles, from two different cameras. We will be working with campus police to identify who committed this crime,” Gray said.

Gray and Brown would like a formal statement from Wright State University about the incident.

Brown emphasized that NPHC holds value for the campus through their philanthropic endeavors and events. NPHC tries to be inclusive of everyone, so Brown was very shocked at the vandalism.

“We look forward to working with the university to educate students on what NPHC is, what the plots are and how the integrity of the plots can be maintained and respected,” Brown said. “We look forward to working with admissions to include the plots in the tours so that incoming students and/or visitors can be educated about the plots as well.”

University response

Eric Corbitt, interim dean of students, explained that on Feb. 21, Wright State Police responded to the site. The three vandalized signs were removed.

Corbitt provided a comment about the incident.

“The plot area contains significant historical and cultural value to the campus and our community. I think the university has worked very hard and very closely with students over the last few years to listen to concerns and address those concerns,” Corbitt said. “I feel we have come a long way in relationships, and I don’t think we should let one person or one incident stop our progress or our movement forward.”

On Friday, Feb. 23, the Wright State Department of Public Safety released images of the damage and photos from nearby security cameras of an unknown individual interacting with the plots.

The Wright State Police phone number is 937-775-2111. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the University’s EthicsPoint website.

“We are extremely disappointed that someone defaced a space that holds great significance and is meant to be a source of celebration, education, and direction for visitors, students, employees, and alumni alike. That’s why we are asking for everyone’s help,” WSU Chief of Police Kurt Holden said in a university-wide email.

More information to come as it is available.

Alexis Lewis


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