Syracuse University suspends fraternity activities

Photo courtesy of Zainubrazvi/Wikimedia

Nov. 18 (UPI) — Syracuse University suspended all social activities at fraternities for the rest of the semester on Sunday following a series of incidents targeting minorities on campus, according to the school’s chancellor.

Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement that he made the decision after a group of students, some of whom are members of a Syracuse University fraternity, allegedly accosted an African American female student on campus Saturday night with “a verbal racial epithet.”

The students who allegedly harassed the female student have been identified following an investigation involving security camera footage by the university’s Department of Public Safety, and they will be held accountable to the Code of Student Conduct and the full extent of the law, Syverud said, adding that the fraternity has also been suspended.

However, it is just the most recent in a string of incidents targeting Jewish, Asian and African American students at the school in the past month, with at least one other incident occurring that same day.

“While only one fraternity may have been involved in this particular incident, given recent history, all fraternities must come together with the university community to reflect upon how to prevent recurrence of such seriously troubling behavior,” Syverud said.

The national office of Alpha Chi Rho, the suspended fraternity, said it was “disgusted” by the incident allegedly committed by its members and their guests and was working with the university’s investigation.

“Such loathsome behavior is contrary to Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity principles that aim to cultivate men of word and deed based on character, honor and integrity,” it said in a statement.

The Interfraternity Council at Syracuse University said it has removed the fraternity’s chapter from its council and any chapter that maintains contact with it will be subjected to an indefinite suspension. The council also called for the offending students to be expelled from the university.

“As a unified fraternity community standing against any and all forms of racism, hate and injustice, we, the Interfraternity Council, collectively demand the university immediately expel the despicable rogues who spouted these heinous slurs to one of our peers,” the organization’s vice president, Anthony Licata, said in a recorded statement.

The suspension comes a week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state’s police Hate Crimes Task Force to conduct an investigation into the escalating incidents that include racist and anti-Semitic graffiti written on school campus.

“I’m disgusted by the recent rash of hateful language found scrawled on the walls at Syracuse University, where students from around the world are drawn each year in the pursuit of higher learning,” Cuomo said in a statement. “These types of hateful and bigoted actions seek to splinter and segregate our communities, and they have no place in New York — period.”


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