Syracuse University has suspended a fraternity after video surfaced showing members saying things that the university’s chancellor called “extremely racist.”
Chancellor Kent Syverud suspended the university’s chapter of Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity, on Wednesday. He additionally described the videos as “anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.”
The school newspaper, The Daily Orange, obtained and released a copy of one video, which it said was originally posted on a secret Facebook group. The university became aware of the videos after someone forwarded them to officials, a spokeswoman told The New York Times.
In one video, filmed in Theta Tau’s house, a person gets on his knees and repeats an “oath.”
“I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for” black people, Latinos and Jews, the person repeats, using slurs for those groups.
Many students staged campus protests over the video. Liam McMonagle, 19, told the Times it demonstrates that racism is alive and real.
“Now today there’s a video, and today it’s on social media, and today it’s proven.” he said.
Michael Abraham, executive director of the national Theta Tau organization, told the Times he had not yet seen the video, but that his organization was “investigating the allegations.”
He added: “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.”
The Theta Tau chapter released a statement on Friday to the Syracuse Post-Standard apologizing for the video, saying, “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 chapter also claimed that what the video depicted was a satirical roast of a “conservative Republican” fraternity member.
Syverud said a formal investigation is underway “to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary action.”