A chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Athens, Georgia has been suspended after a video emerged showing one student saying “Pick my cotton n****r,” while mock whipping another student with a belt as other students watched and laughed.
UGA released a statement saying it was aware of the video depicted students “using racist language and engaging in behaviors that mock the suffering of enslaved peoples.” On Twitter, the university wrote that racism has no place on its campus.
The Students Joked Using Racist Epithets
A Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity member hits another member with a belt repeating “Pick my cotton, b***h.”
The student in the bed shouts, “I’m not black!” while other students surrounding the boys laugh.
One says, “You’re not using the right words.”
The student then starts to say, “Pick my cotton n****r.”
The Univerity and the Fraternity Issued Statements in Response to the Video
“The video poster claimed that the school wasn’t initially responsive when they came forward with the video,” reports Daily Mail.
“Whenever we receive complaints of racist or discriminatory conduct, we refer such matters to our Equal Opportunity Office in accordance with applicable laws and policies,” the university said on Twitter.
Tau Kappa Epsilon expelled the members.
In a separate statement released by Tau Kappa Epsilon, the fraternity said it is “appalled, disgusted, and angered by the remarks shown in a video of four expelled members.”
TKE conducted an investigation and said the event took place at a non-fraternity event and did not take place on any chapter premise.
Tau Kappa Epsilon added that the fraternity “has never had an exclusionary clause in our membership.”
TKE is one of the largest fraternities in North America with over 285,000 initiated members and 240 active chapters.
The University of Georgia has a complicated history with slavery under increasing scrutiny.
In 2018, the school announced a memorial to be built for the 100+ burials of enslaved people unearthed during a construction project in 2015, but only after first secretly reburying the remains in March 2017 at a nearby historically white cemetery.
In February 2019, the AJC “Reviewed several decades of yearbooks of some of the state’s largest colleges and universities. It found more than two dozen images of typically unnamed students in blackface at UGA, Emory, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Mercer universities.”
And in January 2019, UGA “condemned comments made by an African-American teaching assistant on social media about ‘fighting’ white people that some have described as racist,” reports the AJC.
Irami Osei-Frimpong posted a 45-minute video to YouTube after his Facebook status stating “some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance to freedom” caused an uproar.
Again, UGA said in a statement “Racism has no place on our campus,” adding “we condemn the advocacy or suggestion of violence in any form.”