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Syracuse University Frat Suspended For "Racist, Anti-Semitic, Homophobic" Video
In the clip, students pledge “to always have hatred in my heart” for Hispanics, African-Americans and Jews.
Syracuse University has suspended an engineering fraternity after the discovery of a group video the school's chancellor described as "extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities."
The Daily Orange posted the video after obtaining it from “Tau of Theta Tau," a secret Facebook group. David Yankowy III, who was listed as a member of the organization, posted it on the private page, according to The Daily Orange. It is unclear when the video was originally recorded.
In the clip, students pledge “to always have hatred in my heart” for Hispanics, African-Americans and Jews, using slurs to describe each of those groups. They joke about concentration caps while simulating masturbation and fellatio on each other.
Yankowy and Alexander Fox, who was listed on the SU chapter’s website as the fraternity’s regent, have not commented on the video. An unnamed individual reported its existence to university officials, according to The New York Times.
Kent Syverud, the university's chancellor, condemned the chapter in a message to the university community Wednesday.
“There is absolutely no place at Syracuse University for behavior or language that degrades any individual or group’s race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability or religious beliefs. Upon confirming Theta Tau’s involvement, the university’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately suspended the fraternity, effectively halting all activities," Syverud wrote.
Syverud added that the school is now working “to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary action.”
By Wednesday afternoon, the frat chapter's website and Facebook page had been taken down.
Michael Abraham, executive director of the national Theta Tau organization, said the organization was investigating the situation. He said he had not seen the video.
“The behaviors described are not representative of our very diverse organization, locally or nationally, nor rational or comprehensible for the multiethnic Syracuse chapter itself,"Abraham said, according to The New York Times.
"While the language that has been described is troubling and inconsistent with our values, we tend to distinguish between words and deeds as well as between individuals and groups when determining appropriate remedies and penalties," he added.
Students on campus seemed dubious that the administration will punish those involved.
“This is not the first incident like this on campus. It’s the same response every time. It’s, ‘Here’s counseling, we’re here if you need us, there’s resource centers, and we promise we’ll punish them.’ But there’s no mechanisms for change," Liam McMonagle, 19, told the Times.
McMonagle helped organize a march on school after the video's release. Hundreds of students paraded from the chancellor's house to the campus chapel, where a forum was held to discuss the issues brought up by the fraternity's behavior and the school's reaction to it.
Syverud was not present at the march, according to Syracuse.com.
Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado said police are interviewing people suspected of involvement in the video.
Theta Tau is the fourth fraternity to be suspended at Syracuse University this year, according to NBC News.
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]