Friday, September 17, 2021

Syracuse University Frat Apologizes over ‘Extremely Racist’ Video; Said it Was a ‘Satirical Sketch’

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Theta Tau fraternity at Syracuse University
Theta Tau fraternity at Syracuse University

*The Syracuse University fraternity chapter that was suspended Wednesday after a racist video surfaced has now issued an apology, saying the offensive language was part of a skit to roast an active brother, who is a conservative Republican.

The video showed a group of white men laughing heartily at skits punctuated by racist language against African Americans, Jews and Hispanics, as well as simulated sex acts. At one point, a student on his knees simulating oral sex was instructed to pledge: “I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for …” He then says several racial slurs to describe African Americans, Hispanics and Jews.

Chancellor Ken Syverud said the school suspended Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity, for videos he described as racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.

The Daily Orange student newspaper posted the six-minute recording and said it was one of several videos it had obtained. The newspaper said the recording was of a video made in the fraternity house and posted to a private Facebook group called “Tau of Theta Tau.”

Theta Tau’s national organization said it was investigating and that the behaviors described weren’t representative of its “very diverse organization.”

In a statement, Theta Tau’s Syracuse University chapter said:

“First and foremost, every single member of Theta Tau would like to apologize to everyone affected by the racist video that was recorded as a part of our new member process. Theta Tau is made up of a diverse group of engineering students from a variety of nationalities, beliefs, and backgrounds, and we strongly believe that racism has no place on a university campus. … Anyone of color or of any marginalized group who has seen this video has every right to be angry and upset with the despicable contents of that video.”

The chancellor said the videos were turned over to the school’s Department of Public Safety for possible disciplinary or legal action.

“I am appalled by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community,” Syverud wrote in an email Wednesday. “The conduct is deeply harmful and contrary to the values and community standards we expect of our students”

The university held a gathering Wednesday to promote “community dialogue” and about 100 people marched through the campus carrying signs and chanting. About 400 attended a three-hour discussion, venting frustrations over what they view as systemic racism and sexism at the school.

“We really can’t have this kind of culture on campus, it’s 2018 and everyone should be loving each other, and respecting each other,” one student told CBS Syracuse affiliate WTVH-TV. “This is a university.”

The controversy in Syracuse erupted a day after California Polytechnic State University suspended all fraternities and sororities after photos surfaced showing fraternity members in blackface.



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