Theta Tau video outrage prompts SU student sit

Cristina Cross
April 21, 2018

The university suspended the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity last week following a months-long investigation into hazing.

Students at Syracuse University are calling for the school and their peers to "do better" after a video surfaced in which members of the Theta Tau fraternity display behavior that's hostile to just about every marginalized group.

"I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for n*****s, sp*cs and most importantly the f***in' k*kes", a member repeats, phrase by phrase, using slurs for black, Hispanic and Jewish people, respectively.

The racist video had been part of a skit to roast an active brother, who is a conservative Republican, it said in the statement.

In yet another video, someone said, "He's drooling out of his mouth because he's retarded in a wheelchair" after someone sits in a chair.

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"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 NY school's Theta Tau chapter said on its website.

Beyond suspending the fraternity, the upstate NY university has launched an investigation, and the school's Department of Public Safety is working on identifying participants in the video, Syverud said.

Most of what is said in the videos was posted to a private Facebook page, CBS affiliate WTVH-TV reports.

Chancellor Kent Syverud called the behavior "offensive" in a statement to the campus community Wednesday.

Syverud said "upon confirming Theta Tau's involvement, the University's Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately suspended the fraternity, effectively halting all activities".

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The college's Theta Tau chapter claims on its own web site that the film shows a "roast" that portrays an un-educated, intolerant individual. Another member of the audience said that as students marched in front of the Theta Tau house, a group of white men in a auto shouted, "Hey s--" at them.

Students are holding a sit-in this morning at the Schine Student Center on campus. The Theta Tau chapter argues that "context" is important when evaluating the video, but they still insist that in no way are they trying to excuse this mess.

Initially, the university refused to release the video footage. Theta Tau is made up of a diverse group of engineering students from a variety of nationalities, beliefs, and backgrounds, and we strongly believe that racism has no place on a university campus.

Both the local chapter of Theta Tau and the national organization have issued statements regarding the controversial video. The university has declined to release the videos.

According to the New York Times, student protesters say that the behaviors exhibited in the videos do not constitute isolated incidents.

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