University of Georgia Frat Suspended After Scandal

The arch on UGA’s campus stands for tradition (Photo: Andrew Davis Tucker)

The arch on UGA’s campus stands for tradition (Photo: Andrew Davis Tucker)

Stephanie Robinson, Contributing Writer

 Earlier this week, on March 23, the University of Georgia Student Government Association announced that it was suspending the Xi-Lambda chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon amid a racism scandal. A video of several members of the frat went viral, depicting them using derogatory slurs and joking about the forced labor slaves endured.

In the video, a visibly intoxicated student swings a belt, laughing as he says “pick my cotton b——.” Then, the other students tell him “you’re not using the right words.” Another says, “Do it, you won’t.” Encouraged by his peers, the original student swings the belt and say “pick my cotton n——,” still laughing.

The video, which originated in a GroupMe for Tau Kappa Epsilon students, quickly spread online. Widespread outrage caused by the video sparked response from the university and the fraternity chapter.

The University of Alabama and Tau Kappa Epsilon both strongly condemned the actions of the students in the video. The UG chapter was suspended by Tau Kappa Epsilon, and in a statement it said, “Tau Kappa Epsilon is disgusted, appalled and angered by the remarks shown in the video. TKE does not condone or support any actions by its members that would be defined as racist, discriminatory, and/or offensive.”

 TKE continued, explaining, “Since 1899, our fraternity has taken much pride in the diversity and uniqueness of our membership. Tau Kappa Epsilon has never had an exclusionary clause in our membership. Our founders believed, as we do today, in the personal worth and character of the individual, not his wealth, rank, or honor.”

The students in the video were expelled from the fraternity and are under investigation by University of Alabama.

HHS students responded with similar rage over the situation and video. Senior Lily Denneen expressed anger, saying that “it’s terrible that people still think it’s okay to do that.” Her feeling were widespread. Senior Kevin Porter said, “That whole situation is bad.”

These incidents of racism and other discriminatory acts on college campuses are important to high schoolers. For seniors, college is only a few months away, and these issues will soon become their own. For juniors and other underclassmen, looking at a campus’s history of scandals and problems could strongly impact their choice in a college or university.

These sorts of scandals are important to take note of. Often they are not a single isolated situation, but, rather, they are indicative of a widespread, systemic problem that must be solved.