A vile racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic video produced by the Theta Tau fraternity on the campus of Syracuse University has led to an official suspension of the frat.
Student publication The Daily Orange obtained the video and posted it with the story on its website.
Chancellor Kent Syverud said they’d just learned today “of extremely troubling and disturbing conduct” in the video which he said includes “words and behaviors that are extremely racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities. I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community.”
Syverud said “upon confirming Theta Tau’s involvement, the University’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately suspended the fraternity, effectively halting all activities. At this time, all evidence has been turned over to the Department of Public Safety, which has launched a formal investigation to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary action.”
Syracuse.com reported the frat house was occupied but shuttered.
But students were demanding more be done and a protest began a few hours ago with several hundred students gathered demanding the video and systemic issues be addressed immediately.
Tonight it was reported students had carried signs and chanted, “Where’s the video? Release it.”
In his statement, Syverud asked in advance for “all members of our community willing to engage in this conversation. We may not solve all our problems overnight, but together we can identify how to move forward as one community.”
Students protesting Wednesday night eventually decided to forego demands to see the video when concerns about the nature of the “relationship violence, racism and sexism” would likely be too disturbing for some, it was reported.
Theta Tau is an engineering frat. In the six minute video frat members use racist, ethnic, sexist and “ableist slurs”.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, a University Senate meeting was held but students left and gathered on their own at Hendricks Chapel. Meanwhile, an hour earlier, Syracause.com reported, students gathered in front of Syverud’s house.
“For more than three hours, students unloaded years worth of frustration about systemic racism and sexism at Syracuse University because of the video,” it was reported.
Students shared their own stories of racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and similar incidents and discussed the 2014 Syracuse women’s soccer team using racial and homophobic slurs and the “General Body” occupied the office of admissions.
The Dean of Hendricks Chapel called the protest a “community gathering” and said that the university “heard from many members of our campus community, all of whom expressed concern regarding recent events,” calling it a “vital first step in what will be an ongoing process to foster a culture and environment that supports all students, faculty and staff.”
“…because this conversation is so critically important, we’ll be hosting a series of events and forums, including another community gathering this evening. We invite you to join us for candid, but respectful, dialogue—as we experienced earlier today …” said Brian Konkol, Dean of Hendricks Chapel in a statement.
The SU chaplain also posted a statement for the campus community.
Syverud said, “The conduct is deeply harmful and contrary to the values and community standards we expect of our students. 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.
“Syracuse University is committed to fostering a community where all our students feel welcome and are treated with dignity and respect. This behavior is unacceptable and contradicts our moral standards,” he said. “What happened at Theta Tau serves as a reminder that violations of codes of honor, behavior and values will be met with swift and appropriate consequences.
Syverud said in the statement he’d “communicate further on this matter later today, including about other steps and resources we will make available to our community,” but it’s not clear what measures were taken that have not been posted on the University’s website.