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Syracuse University
John Marino / CC BY 2.0

The engineering fraternity at Syracuse University Theta Tau was suspended on April 18 after a video of them engaging in racist behavior was sent to university officials. 

Syracuse University’s chancellor Kent Syverud said that the footage showed them behaving in ways “that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities,” according to The New York Times.

The video, posted to the fraternity’s secret Facebook group, “Tau of Theta Tau,” shows the brothers pledging to always hold hatred for black, Hispanic, and Jewish people. According to The Daily Orange, a person in the video is seen kneeling and repeating, “I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for n*ggers, sp*cs, and most importantly the f*ckin’ k*kes.” 

In other videos posted to the Facebook group, a fraternity member is seen referencing gas torture chambers and another mocking someone in a wheelchair. 

The national Theta Tau organization is currently investigating the allegations against the Theta Tau Syracuse chapter and has yet to make a decision on consequences. However, executive director of the national chapter Michael Abraham said, “The behaviors described are not representative of our very diverse organization,” according to The New York Times

As Syracuse investigates which individuals were involved in the pledge video, the chapter will face legal and disciplinary action by the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety. 

“There is no place in the university for such behavior and language. The conduct is deeply harmful and contrary to the values and community standards we expect of our students,” Syverud wrote in an email to all students and faculty.

Students at Syracuse University protested outside the university chancellor’s house and organized a march to call for action against Theta Tau. 

This news comes amid ongoing local and national controversy around issues of discrimination and exclusivity in Greek life. Lambda Chi Alpha’s chapter in California Polytechnic State University was suspended just last week for racist behavior. 

The Penn Association for Gender Equity met in February to discuss issues of racism, classism, and misogyny in Greek life. Participants discussed the extent of inclusivity in sororities and fraternities.