Theta Tau Members Suspended
By Greg Bradbury – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – Syracuse University has suspended 15 members of the Theta Tau fraternity for up to two years. These members were connected to the offensive videos that surfaced at the end of April.
Eighteen members of the fraternity were originally charged for taking part in the creation of the videos. Two of the students did not challenge the charges. Sixteen other students went through with the university conduct process, and one settled with the university after his hearing.
The members who went through the university conduct process and were directly involved with the video were found guilty for harassment along with conduct and violation of university policies. However, the members were found not guilty of both physical harm and violating the university’s policies on alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
The suspended members now have the opportunity to appeal their suspension according to Robert Hradsky, the Dean of Students. The members also have the option of pursuing legal action against the school.
Professor Gregory Germain, SU College of Law, advised three of the members involved through the university conduct process. He says the trial was unfair and those who are able to pay to take it to court should be able to see success.
“No one claimed to be harassed by the skits,” said Germain. He added the university built the case on harassment even though no student was targeted, and ignored free speech. Germain added that those who made the decision on the students were employees of the university and cannot fairly judge.
At least one student, who was suspended until the fall of 2020, has to complete 160 hours of community service in addition to writing a 12-page research paper on inclusion if he wishes to re-enroll at SU.
The video became public on April 18 and protests erupted on campus. On April 21, Chancellor Kent Syverud permanently expelled the fraternity from campus.
“The racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist video was part of a Theta Tau sponsored event,” Syverud said in a video to the university.
“Theta Tau has a no tolerance police for this troubling and offensive behavior, and the actions of these individuals are truly disgraceful,” a national Theta Tau statement said. They also added that the video was intended to be a parody skit.
Hradsky sent out an update this afternoon on the student conduct process for the members involved. He said the hearings have concluded, but federal privacy laws do not allow the university to report the specifics of the sanctions.
Moving forward the university is working towards making a more inclusive environment on campus. Included in the school’s changes are a review of all SU Greek Life and changes to the first year forum.
You can find all of CitrusTV’s coverage of Theta Tau here.
This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more information comes out.