Syracuse suspends all fraternity activities after string of racist, anti-Semitic incidents

Syracuse suspends all fraternity activities after string of racist, anti-Semitic incidents
Syracuse suspends all fraternity activities after string of racist, anti-Semitic incidents  

Syracuse University suspended a fraternity and halted social activities at all the school's fraternities for the rest of the semester after a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents, the school president announced Sunday.

"Last night, one of our African American students reported being subjected to a verbal racial epithet from a group of students and visitors to our campus," Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement. "This report of an affront to our student's-and our whole community's - safety and well-being is the latest incident of several against Jews, Asians and African Americans."

Syverud's action was the latest in a series of crackdowns on fraternities across the nation, and comes less than a week after a San Diego State University suspended all Interfraternity Council-affiliated organizations following the death of a freshman who had attended a fraternity event.

At Syracuse, the school's Department of Public Safety said an African American female reported being verbally harassed Saturday by a large group of individuals who reportedly were yelling the "N-word" as she walked by. There was no physical altercation, the department said in a statement.

Earlier Saturday, the department revealed that it was investigating two other bias incidents. One involved anti-Semitic graffiti depicting a swastika, the other was a student loudly yelling a racial epithet derogatory to African Americans. Another bias incident targeting Asians was reported last week.

"Additionally, we are aware of a hateful email being directed to several members of our community," the department said. "That email has been forwarded to the Syracuse Police Department and they have initiated an investigation."

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The #NotAgainSU movement, led by black students, has conducted a series of protests in recent days, citing what the group's leaders view as delayed communication of bias incidents by school officials.

Syverud said Sunday he was "deeply angered" by the incidents. The suspects in Saturday's verbal assault been identified through surveillance video and witness accounts, he added.

"Some of the individuals involved are members and guests of a Syracuse University fraternity," he said, but provided no other details. The school's Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs listed Alpha Chi Rho as suspended, but did not say why. The national office of the fraternity did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Syveryd pledged the suspects would be held accountable to the student Code of Conduct and could face legal charges.Investigations into the other incidents were continuing, he said.

Syverud said the safety and well-being of students required that all fraternity events be canceled.

"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," he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Syracuse fraternity: School suspends activities after racist incidents


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