Chicago University apologies for leaked racist emails from student fraternity

The emails from EAPi fratenity used the n-word, called Muslim students 'terrorists' and said they would celebrate Martin Luther King day by eating fried chicken

 

Rachael Revesz
New York
Friday 05 February 2016 17:07 GMT
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The University of Chicago has apologized for a string of leaked emails from a student fraternity which has revealed a “toxic” culture of racism and sexism.

The emails, obtained by Buzzfeed, were sent between 2011 and 2015 by members of the historically Jewish Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. The emails make various negative remarks regarding Muslim students, black residents - using a veiled slur of “community members” - and women.

One email named a Muslim student a “terrorist” and a picture of an empty and overgrown parking lot was named “Palestine”.

At least one member reportedly used the n-word on the AEPi server.

Some fraternity members decided to celebrate Martin Luther King day by drinking and eating fried chicken in January 2013.

Buzzfeed said the emails were leaked by an AEPi member who was frustrated with the “toxic” culture. Other current brothers in the fraternity have told reporters that older members and alumni tend to be the culprits.

“The language used is disrespectful and harmful, particularly to members of our Muslim and African-American communities and to women. The attitudes and views they express are unacceptable, violate the University’s core values, and conflict with our strong commitment to ensuring that people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives can thrive on our campus,” Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen wrote in an email to students.

Fraternities are not officially recognized by universities, but provide a large number of students with subsidized housing.

The website of AEPi is “under construction” but there is an anonymous apology addressed to the university students.

“We are sorry that our fraternity was ever a safe haven for the kind of vitriol you have now all seen, and we are sorry for the fact that when it was, none of us did enough to stop it.”

The statement says AEPi has adopted several new measures to combat these incidents from happening again, including a “zero tolerance policy” towards hateful actions or speech.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma was seen in a leaked video singing a song with the n-word. It was shut down last year, though a university investigation said the racist song was learned at a national SAE event.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab told The Independent that fraternities have a history of fostering exclusivity and elitism, which can “encourage sexism and racism - it’s a problem that needs to be combatted at a fraternity level but also at a societal level."

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