Social activities at Syracuse University fraternities suspended following racist incidents

Notes at a sit-in feature the hashtag used by the protesters at Syracuse University.

(CNN) — All social activities of fraternities at Syracuse University have been suspended for the remainder of the fall semester following the latest in a string of incidents involving racism, according to a letter from Chancellor Kent Syverud posted to the university website Sunday.

The last day of the fall semester is December 13.

Syverud’s decision is in response to a report by an African-American student who says she was “subjected to a verbal racial epithet from a group of students and visitors” on campus near College Place, according to the statement.

This investigation marks the sixth such incident involving reports of racist symbols and language on campus in the last 10 days.

“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,” said Syverud in the statement. “I am deeply angered by these events, including this latest incident.”

The perpetrators from Saturday night’s incident — said by Syverud to be members and guests of a Syracuse University fraternity — have been identified following an investigation led by the Department of Public Safety. The fraternity in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, according to University spokeswoman Sarah Scalese.

Scalese declined to comment further regarding which fraternity the individuals are from and what they will be charged with.

The Syracuse Police Department, which assisted with the investigation, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Mat Ross, alumni trust association board president of Psi Upsilon Fraternity –which has been at Syracuse University since 1875 and has upwards of 70 members — for the last 20 years, told CNN he learned of the suspension of fraternity social events this morning when he received an email from the Assistant Dean of Greek Life on campus.

“I can’t say I agree to suspend all social activities for the actions of one,” said Ross, who graduated from Syracuse University in 1986. “But I understand, because what happened is really terrible.”

Chancellor Syverud defended his decision to suspend social activities for all campus fraternities for the remainder of the semester in his statements: “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.”

This incident is not the first time a Syracuse University fraternity has come under fire for racist actions. In 2018, a racist video derogatory to minority groups emerged from Theta Tau, an engineering fraternity at the university.

While the Department of Public Safety, the Syracuse Police Department and state police continue to actively investigate the other recent racist incidents, protests continue in the university’s Barnes Center.

Protesters gave university officials a November 20 deadline to address their 18 short- and long-term demands, which include the allocation of $1 million for the creation of a curriculum to educate the campus on “diversity issues, specifically anti-racism.”

If their demands are not met, protesters say they will call on Syverud to resign.

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