Yikes. It looks like the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is in some deep crap over what is being reported to be racist behavior taking place over the last few years.
A statement released from the University on Tuesday says that the university suspended chapter after a member, who is African-American, “alleging a hostile, discriminatory environment in the chapter during a period from 2014 to early 2016.”
From The Wisconsin State Journal :
An unnamed former member of the fraternity came forward in March with allegations that his fellow members casually used a racial slur for African-Americans from the fall of 2014 through February of this year, according to documents UW officials provided to the State Journal on Tuesday.
The student, who is black, said he heard members use the slur while singing along with music, while introducing the student to others and, in one case from March 2015, while running down State Street, according to a report written by Will Chapman, UW-Madison’s assistant director of student conduct. Members used homophobic and anti-Semitic language as well, the student said. He also accused another fraternity member of assaulting him in a racially motivated attack.
To be fair, the university acknowledged that the fraternity did take action in response to some of the incidents listed; the member who ran down the street yelling a slur was suspended (although still present at some chapter events), and the member accused in the assault was disciplined prior to graduation.
However, a university spokesman said, “Those actions were insufficient to improve the overall environment,” after an investigation from the student-led Committee on Student Organizations. According to The Journal-Sentinel , “The committee found sufficient information to demonstrate that the fraternity’s leadership was aware of the black member’s concerns about how certain members treated him based on his race, and how certain members used language that was derogatory on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation.”
The report on the investigation, written by Will Chapman, UW-Madison’s assistant director of student conduct, found that “After a hearing in April, committee members found the fraternity, which was already on probation for an unrelated event involving underage drinking, violated student organization rules prohibiting racial discrimination,” according to The Wisconsin State Journal . The paper stated that Chapman’s report detailed that members acknowledged using slurs, but said the language was “not used in an intentionally derogatory way, but as slang that many in the fraternity are familiar with” and that when the student told fellow members to stop using the slur for African-Americans, they responded that they could use the word “because of how progressive they were.”
The fraternity’s current suspension, which the chapter can appeal, will go through November 1st. They will not be able to recruit or participate in any Greek events; additionally, the chapter members must take part in diversity training. .