University suspends fraternity after racist video surfaces involving members
HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - The University of Richmond suspended the Kappa Sigma fraternity Monday after a video surfaced over the weekend of its members singing a racist and offensive song. The university was also notified that the fraternity’s national headquarters had suspended UofR’s chapter.
Because of its offensive nature, the video will not be shown. But in the video, current and former fraternity members could be heard singing “The south will rise again” and ‘I want to be a slave owner.”
The university’s president, Kevin Hallock, released a statement to the student body condemning the video and those who participated.
“The behavior recorded in the video is shameful and despicable. I am appalled by what I have seen and heard,” Hallock said. “This is not who we are, nor who we aspire to be.”
But students like Shira Greer say Hallock’s words don’t easily convince them.
“To say that this is not who we are is a lie, and I think we just wanted to call that out really clearly,” the junior said.
Greer is a member of the Black Student Coalition at the University of Richmond, which was established in late February in response to the decision made by the university officials to retain the names of buildings that students argue are racist figures from the university’s past.
Greer says she is not surprised when racist videos from fraternities like Kappa Sigma surface because of that decision.
“Just seeing them display that so comfortably and openly in that video is always somewhat disturbing,” Greer said. “It’s not surprising because I think we know these sentiments exist among many members of our campus community.”
Hallock said he is calling on the university as a whole to treat others with respect and dignity.
“The future for our university is bright, and so many people here are working so hard to create a community of belonging for all who study and work at UR. But it takes all of us, and we must do better,” Hallock said.
However, Greer believes making things better means for the president to take action, particularly following through on a list of demands from the coalition to help make things right. Among those, Greer says the coalition is calling on the removal of Ryland Hall and Mitchell-Freeman Hall from its buildings.
“We are also continuing to push for the other demands as well for Black students, which include a multicultural house on campus and an endowed chair for Africana Studies that is upcoming,” Greer said.
The Student Government Association from the university is also slamming that video, saying in a statement this is not an instance limited to Kappa Sigma.
“The student governments are thoroughly disappointed and wanted to, again, denounce these actions on our campus community,” the SGA said. “This is not an instance limited to Kappa Sigma, as is evident by the past few months.”
“We want to make it clear that we are against the systems that continue to show themselves as perpetual agents in the normative culture of racism and other forms of hatred that have been apparent in the past few years. This video is just the latest in a series of abhorrent and unacceptable actions by members of our community,” the SGA said.
The university says an investigation is pending. It is also working on identifying all the students present in the video.
At this time, it is not clear how long the fraternity’s suspension will last or what actions, if any, will be taken against those who participated.
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