Students are outraged after a video of several UGA Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members using racial slurs and making derogatory gestures was posted on Snapchat.
The video of the students shows one holding a belt while hitting another student and yelling, “Pick my cotton” followed by racial slurs.
The four Tau Kappa Epsilon members were expelled from the fraternity and UGA’s TKE chapter is on a temporary suspension.
FRAT SUSPENDED AFTER RACIST VIDEO: The letters of Tau Kappa Epsilon are covered in black plastic tonight after the national organization suspended the @universityofga chapter. Four of its members were expelled after posting snapchats using racial slurs and gestures. @FOX5Atlanta pic.twitter.com/iW88f4DxRL— Alexa Liacko FOX 5 (@AlexaLiackoFOX5) March 25, 2019
Students say watching the video and seeing how quickly it circulated was disappointing. “Students have been hurt, and I can say that for myself as well,” said Vice President of UGA’s Student Government, Charlene Marsh.
Marsh said the video is a representation of slavery that is upsetting to see in her peers. “There’s one person under a blanket and someone holding a belt hitting him that we’ve seen as someone trying to re-enact slavery,” said Marsh.
Then, the students take it one step further: “Then someone behind the camera says, ‘You’re saying the wrong word,’ and then they guy who’s hitting the other uses racially insensitive language and people are laughing and all that,” said Marsh.
The President of UGA’s Student Government says they can't just let this go. “It's a message of bigotry,” said Ammishaddai Grand-Jean. “It’s a message of racism being sent out by this video, but I think our response needs to be love, unity and talking about this, calling it out for what it is and not being afraid to,” said Grand-Jean.
Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity's national organization temporarily suspended the entire UGA chapter saying it is "disgusted" and "appalled" by the video.
“DISGUSTED, APPALLED AND ANGERED”: @TKE_Fraternity temporarily suspended the UGA chapter of the organization after 4 members were recorded making racist & discriminatory remarks. The video was NOT taken inside the fraternity house, and it was NOT at a frat party. @FOX5Atlanta pic.twitter.com/Ew7I5Qudc5— Alexa Liacko FOX 5 (@AlexaLiackoFOX5) March 25, 2019
The four students involved were expelled from the fraternity, but the University itself has not taken action yet. The Equal Opportunity Office will conduct an investigation before any action is taken.
UGA's President Jere Morehead also responded to the video with this statement:
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. In addition, the students involved in the incident have been expelled from the fraternity.
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.
Students say they're hoping the university will take action so students know this is not welcome on campus.
“These things happen behind closed doors all the time, but it coming to light is the most important way for us to address it and fix it,” said Grand-Jean.