Syracuse University has expelled its Theta Tau fraternity after “disgusting” racist and homophobic videos from an initiation ceremony emerged online.
Chancellor and President Kent Syverud revealed the news in a filmed statement on Saturday.
In his address, Syverud also labelled the videos “anti-Semitic, ableist and sexist” before going on to detail that within just two hours of seeing and authenticating the footage, Dean of Students Robert Hradsky issued a letter to Theta Tau leadership explaining the institution’s decision to expel the frat.
Syeverud added that an “investigation of individual students involved has been pursued with speed and vigour” and that other Greek letter organisations will be examined, as they realise this issue extends beyond one fraternity and a couple of videos.
“In the last 72 hours, our department of public safety has interviewed 38 individuals, with more to be completed over the next few days,” he said. “By the end of this weekend, DPS will begin recommending charges.”
Syverud also made sure to state that “the students have rights in this process” and that the university will, of course, adhere to that during the proceedings. Their futures in regards to their education will be determined after a judicial process.
The videos – which were made public by The Daily Orange, an independent student newspaper – shows one person encourage another to get down on his knees and recite an oath that includes highly offensive racial slurs against black, Hispanic and Jewish people.
“I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for n*****s,” the pair state while laughing.
“You f*****g k***s, get in the f*****g showers,” they continue.
It is assumed that the latter cry is an allusion to Nazi gas chambers.
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In another recording, the people involved pretend to perform sexual acts on each other. Elsewhere, other fraternity members pretend to sexually assault a person with disabilities during filming.
According to local news outlet Patch, members of the group can be heard saying: “He’s drooling out of his mouth, because he’s retarded in a wheelchair. So the hole is already very lubricated.” They also said: “Yankee is totally unaware of this light rape that’s occurring.”
Soon after the video was obtained via a private Facebook group on April 18, students protested across campus, denouncing the fraternity. Theta Tau was later suspended.
Amid ongoing investigations, the fraternity chapter insist that the video was meant to be “satirical” and that they were deliberately acting like an intolerant person for the purpose of the “sketch.”
In their own statement, Theta Tau added: “The young man playing the part of this character nor the young man being roasted do not hold any of the horrible views espoused” in it.