The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Syracuse University opted to suspend engineering fraternity Theta Tau after a student newspaper published footage of members conducting themselves in ways “that are extremely racist, ant-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities,” according to university chancellor Kent Syverud.
In the six-minute video, which was first posted to a clandestine Facebook group called “Tau of Theta Tau,” and later obtained by independent student paper The Daily Orange, one member employs anti-Semitic jabs (“get in the fuckin’ shower”), while another repeats a pledge to always “have hatred in my heart” for black people, Hispanics, and Jews (using a derogatory term for each).
Syverud wrote in an email that went out to students and faculty on Wednesday morning:
“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. Upon confirming Theta Tau’s involvement, the university’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately suspended the fraternity, effectively halting all activities.”
The email also notes that Syracuse’s Department of Public Safety is trying “to identify individuals involved and to take additional legal and disciplinary action.”
The executive director of the national Theta Tau organization, Michael Abraham, who claimed not to have seen the video yet, also commented on the investigation and allegations, saying, “The behaviors described are not representative of our very diverse organization locally or nationally, nor rational or comprehensible for the multiethnic Syracuse chapter itself.”
The Times report eventually resorts to this inane transition: “Theta Tau is not the first fraternity, nor Syracuse the first university, to be involved in a scandal involving racism or sexism.” This is like writing “it’s not the first time President Trump tweeted something baffling or offensive.”