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Syracuse Suspends Fraternity Over ‘Extremely Racist, Anti-Semitic, Homophobic’ Video

2 minute read

Syracuse University has suspended an engineering fraternity after video footage surfaced that the school chancellor condemned as “extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities.”

The video shows members of the fraternity repeatedly using racial slurs and joking about sending Jews into showers, a reference to Nazi gas chambers.

Syracuse students protested Wednesday night, calling for administrators to release the videos and hold Greek organizations accountable. “We want freedom, freedom. All these racist, sexist frats — we don’t need them,” students chanted.

The university said it has launched a formal investigation into the fraternity, Theta Tau, and is considering legal and disciplinary action. In a message to the university community on Wednesday, Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud condemned the video and said, “I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community.”

He added: “The conduct is deeply harmful and contrary to the values and community standards we expect of our students.”

The university’s independent student newspaper, the Daily Orange, published a video obtained from a secret Facebook group for the fraternity. When asked to recite “the oath,” one of the men in the video shouts, “F— black people,” and then uses a racial slur to describe Hispanics.

He later continues “the oath,” repeating after another fraternity member. “I solemnly swear … to always have hatred in my heart for,” he says, before repeating several racial and ethnic slurs referring to African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews, as others in the room laugh and applaud.

Three other fraternities at Syracuse are currently on probation for misconduct.

Theta Tau, “the oldest, largest, and foremost Fraternity for Engineers,” has more than 70 chapters nationally, according to its website. The Syracuse chapter was established in 1925.

Listing its core values, the national fraternity describes members as “honest and ethical,” “dependable and trustworthy,” and “respectful of ourselves and each other.”

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com