By Sam Ogozalek –
The Syracuse University chapter of Theta Tau was suspended Wednesday morning after online videos circulated showing fraternity members engaging in behaviors that were “extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities,” Chancellor Kent Syverud announced in a campus-wide email.
“I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community,” Syverud said.
The chancellor said that, upon confirming Theta Tau’s involvement in the video, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately suspended the fraternity.
Theta Tau is a professional engineering fraternity located at 1105 Harrison St. The fraternity’s national office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Alexander Fox, who is listed on the SU chapter’s website as the fraternity’s regent, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SU’s Department of Public Safety has launched an investigation into the incident to identify individuals and to take additional legal and disciplinary action, Syverud said. The nature of the videos was not immediately clear. The chancellor did not immediately detail what the videos were or how they circulated online.
“Syracuse University is committed to fostering a community where all our students feel welcome and are treated with dignity and respect. This behavior is unacceptable and contradicts our moral standards,” Syverud said. “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.”
Student Association President James Franco said the fraternity’s conduct was antithetical to his personal values and the values of the university.
“I think we also, too, should have an audit of Greek life on campus to re-evaluate its impact on the campus community and its value,” Franco said.
Syverud said the university will comment further on the incident later Wednesday.
Theta Tau is the fourth fraternity suspended from SU during the 2017-18 academic year. SU announced the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity’s suspension last week after a months-long investigation into hazing. SU suspended Alpha Epsilon Pi in February for conduct that threatened the safety of a student participating in the new member process. The SU chapter of Delta Tau Delta was suspended in fall 2017 for conduct violations that included hazing.
Just before 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, Hendricks Chapel Dean Brian Konkol sent a campus-wide email announcing a gathering in the chapel at 2:30 p.m. for students, faculty and staff to engage in dialogue about the campus community and “in particular the troubling and disturbing conduct that has come to light.”
Konkol said he recognized the situation was “deeply troubling.”
— Asst. News Editor Jordan Muller contributed reporting to this article.
— Originally published in the Daily Orange on April 18, 2018.
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