SU suspends Theta Tau fraternity over videos showing “extremely racist,” disturbing behavior

SU suspends Theta Tau fraternity over videos

Chancellor Kent Syverud announced in a campus-wide email that the Department of Public Safety has launched a formal investigation.
Published: April 18, 2018

Syracuse University has suspended the SU chapter of Theta Tau Wednesday morning after videos surfaced online revealing extremely troubling and disturbing conduct, Chancellor Kent Syverud announced in a campus-wide email.

The videos “include words and behaviors that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities,” Syverud said in the statement. “I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community.”

Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity, was suspended by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately after their involvement with the video was confirmed, the chancellor said. SU’s Department of Public Safety has launched a formal investigation to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary action, he added.

“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.

Hendricks Chapel dean Brian Konkol invited members of the campus community for an open discussion at Hendricks Chapel at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We will use this gathering as an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to engage in thoughtful, constructive dialogue about our campus community and in particular the troubling and disturbing conduct that has come to light,” he said.

Student Association President James Franco addressed another gathering at Hendricks Chapel Wednesday night. Students packed the chapel to listen to Franco and several other students speak and voice their thoughts on this matter.

The Daily Orange posted one of the videos Wednesday evening, after gaining access to a secret Facebook group called “Tau of Theta Tau.” In the video, someone is made to kneel down by another person and is asked to repeat an “oath” containing racial slurs.

“I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for n, s and most importantly the fckin’ k,” the person kneeling down repeats.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick ruled out any possibility of criminal charges, reported Thursday afternoon. Fitzpatrick said he he was offended, but the actions and behaviors could not warrant criminal proceedings because they weren’t targeted at specific people. SU officials reportedly sent him a copy of one of the videos for review before it was revealed to the public by The Daily Orange