SYRACUSE, NY — A Syracuse University fraternity has been suspended after a video surfaced showing members making racist, sexist and homophobic remarks and gestures. The fraternity has since issued a formal apology saying the activities were meant to be a ‘satirical sketch’ depicting an uneducated, intolerant person. “Each semester our new members are given the opportunity to write and act out a skit, in order to roast the active brothers. This event was never intended to be centered around racism or hate,” the New York college’s Theta Tau chapter said on its website.
“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 statement continued.
“It was a satirical sketch of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist, ableist and intolerant person. The young man playing the part of this character nor the young man being roasted do not hold any of the horrible views espoused as a part of that sketch.”
The chapter said it’s embarrassed, disappointed and ashamed, adding, “Anyone of color or of any marginalized group who has seen this video has every right to be angry and upset with the despicable contents of that video.”
“First and foremost, every single member of Theta Tau would like to apologize to everyone affected by the racist video,” the chapter said.
The national engineering fraternity said in its own statement that regardless of the context, there’s no excuse. Both the national group and the chapter emphasized that they support inclusiveness.
Numerous students demanding change came together on Friday to confront Chancellor Ken Syverud, who recently referred to the video as racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.
Syverud released a statement via the school’s website saying that it will conduct “a top to bottom review” of its fraternity and sorority policies, activities and culture, and many aspects of college life will include diversity and inclusion training.
Syverud said he would be consulting with an array of students and staff on Friday and over the weekend.
“For it to happen in a manner that the administration would actually call it out this time, it was time for us to be like if they’re willing to say it happened, it’s time for us to make sure they do something about it,” Syracuse student Isaiah Nins told WTVH on Thursday.
Saumya Melwani, another student who participated in the protests, said she was disgusted by the fraternity’s actions. “I’m here because I want to stand for change. I want to make sure that when I leave this campus, I don’t just leave with four years and a degree, I leave with change,” Melwani told WTVH.