US college fraternity sparks outrage over 'racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist' video

Newly released footage shows members miming sex acts on a person pretending to be disabled 

Alina Polianskaya
Monday 23 April 2018 15:35 BST
US college fraternity sparks outrage over video showing ableist and sexually inappropriate behaviour

A fraternity at a university in the state of New York has sparked outrage after a ”racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist” video involving its members emerged.

The clip shows a group of Theta Tau members at Syracuse University carrying out a performance that includes racist language against black people, Jewish people and disabled people.

It shows a man kneel down and vow to “always have hatred in my heart” for a number of racial and cultural groups, which are all described in derogatory terms.

An additional lewd video shows multiple men acting out a sexual assault on another man who is pretending to be a disabled and in a wheelchair.

The footage, which is punctuated by roaring laughter by those watching the performances, was obtained by campus newspaper The Daily Orange after allegedly being posted on the fraternity’s secret Facebook group.

The groups members have claimed the clip was intended as satire by new joiners to mock existing members.

The university announced on Saturday the engineering fraternity would be expelled and that individual students involved could face suspension or expulsion.

Kent Syverud, chancellor at the university, described the video as ”racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist”.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud condemns Theta Tau students involved in offensive fraternity video

He said he has “learned a lot,” after speaking to colleagues and students and that “concrete steps” needed to be taken, towards creating a “more inclusive campus environment”.

“We know this issue extends beyond one fraternity and one video,” he added. “That is why simultaneously we have begun a top-to-bottom review of our entire Greek system.

“I thank everyone who has emphatically rejected bigotry and hatred.”

The Syracuse chapter of Theta Tau apologised for the video prior to the expulsion and said its members believe racism “has no place on a university campus”.

“Each semester our new members are given the opportunity to write and act out a skit, in order to roast the active brothers. This event was never intended to be centered around racism or hate.

“This year, one of these brothers is a conservative Republican, and the new members roasted him by playing the part of a racist conservative character,” the New York school’s Theta Tau chapter said on its website .

“It was a satirical sketch of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist, ableist and intolerant person,” the statement said.

“The young man playing the part of this character nor the young man being roasted do not hold any of the horrible views espoused as a part of that sketch.”

The video also sparked protests by other students at the university who spoke out about the “underlying bigotry” that the clip suggested.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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