A racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic video from a Syracuse fraternity is going viral, and we’re appalled

On Wednesday, April 18th, the Syracuse University chapter of Theta Tau fraternity was suspended after videos surfaced showing the brothers partaking in racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviors. One such video was obtained by Syracuse’s independent student newspaper, The Daily OrangeThe footage, which was filmed inside the Theta Tau house, shows the brothers taking a pledge to “solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart,” for African Americans, Jews, and Hispanics — all referred to by racial slurs.

Syracuse’s Chancellor, Kent Syverud, responded to the video by releasing a campus-wide email to students and faculty Wednesday morning, April 18th.

"There is absolutely no place at Syracuse University for behavior or language that degrades any individual or group’s race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability or religious beliefs," Syverud wrote. "Upon confirming Theta Tau’s involvement, the university’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities immediately suspended the fraternity, effectively halting all activities."

The video obtained by The Daily Orange is just one of several hate-fueled videos uploaded to the secret Facebook group, “Thau of Theta Tau.” Other videos show brothers yelling at “Jews” to “get in the f-cking showers,” the Orange reports (an overt reference to the gas chambers used during the Holocaust). In another recording, a brother portrays a disabled person in a wheelchair. Someone offscreen yells, “He’s drooling out of his mouth because he’s r-tarded in a wheelchair.”

The Facebook group has since been deactivated.

"I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community," Syverud continued in his email.

He informed students and faculty that Syracuse’s Department of Public Safety has since launched an investigation and is looking to confirm the identities of those in the videos and seek legal action.

More than 400 student protestors and activists packed Syracuse’s Hendricks Chapel that same evening for a university-organized public forum. Those who attended explained that the Tau videos highlight a larger social and cultural intolerance problem. Students demanded that serious action be taken.

Later that evening, student protesters posted themselves outside Syverud’s home and demanded the videos be released. The Orange released the video later that night.

Please be aware that the content of the below Syracuse fraternity video is extremely disturbing and may be triggering for some viewers.


As the Orange reports, Theta Tau is the fourth fraternity to be suspended at Syracuse during the 2017-18 academic year. The three other suspensions were the result of hazing.

This is not the type of situation that can be handled with a slap on the wrist and “healing period.” We stand with the student protestors of Syracuse and hope the behavior of the Tau brothers is dealt with appropriately. Let this also serve as an important reminder for the rest of us that love, tolerance, and allyship are desperately needed — now more than ever.

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