A University of Georgia fraternity has been suspended after a video appearing to show some of its members using a racial slur and mocking slavery went viral on social media.
(Content warning: The video is attached to the tweet below and includes the racial slur.)
The video appears to show one student playfully hitting another with a belt while telling him to “Pick my cotton” and using a racial slur. Further details behind the content of the video have not been reported at this time.
In a letter to the student body, UGA’s Student Government Association said Friday evening it was aware of the video being circulated online and that the school’s fraternity chapter has been suspended amid an investigation into the students involved.
“The executive officers of the Student Government Association are aware of a video circulating on social media that depicts individuals identified as members of a UGA Greek organization using racist language and engaging in behaviors that mock the suffering of enslaved peoples,” the letter reads. “We have been notified that the chapter is currently suspended, and we can confirm that there is an investigation underway regarding the students involved in the video.”
Several Twitter users and media outlets identified the students in the video as members of UGA’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
In a statement sent to AJC.com Saturday evening, a spokesman for the fraternity’s national chapter said the organization is “disgusted, appalled and angered” by the four students’ remarks and the students have been expelled from the fraternity.
“TKE will not tolerate any actions such as these that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive,” the statement reads. “After being alerted to the incident yesterday, Tau Kappa Epsilon professional staff and members of the Xi-Lambda chapter at University of Georgia immediately began a thorough investigation into the actions of these four men.”
According to the statement, members determined the video was not recorded during a fraternity function or on chapter premises.
“These four individuals acted outside the expectations of our membership and their chapter and therefore were removed from both,” the statement reads.
“Temporary suspension is a standard procedure so we can conduct our investigation,” the national chapter said in its statement.
The university also released a statement about the incident. “The University of Georgia condemns racism in the strongest terms. Racism has no place on our campus. We will continue our efforts to promote a welcoming and supportive learning environment for our students, faculty and staff.
“The fraternity has been suspended by its national organization.
“Whenever we receive complaints of racist or discriminatory conduct, we refer such matters to our Equal Opportunity Office in accordance with applicable laws and policies.”
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