Missouri fraternity suspended after being accused of racial slurs

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 28, 2016 9:27 PM

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - The University of Missouri said on Wednesday a fraternity accused of making racial slurs toward a group of black students had been suspended, less than a year after allegations of racism on campus ignited protests.

The university's Legion of Black Collegians said in a statement that two black students were in front of the Delta Upsilon fraternity house late on Tuesday when several white students passed by and one uttered a racial obscenity.

As police officers arrived at the scene, additional racial slurs were heard from the white students by the black students, according to the group.

"To say that we are disgusted is beyond understatement," the Black Collegians said. "It is often said that history repeats itself. But the ignorance that occurs on the University of Missouri's campus always seems to be too familiar."

The university said the fraternity had already been cited this semester for other violations, including alcohol offenses. The suspension means the fraternity cannot use school facilities or take part in homecoming or other campus activities, according to the university's statement.

In a statement on Wednesday, Delta Epsilon International Fraternity said it issued an emergency suspension of its Missouri university chapter and was working with the school to investigate the incident.

"Racism and sexism have no place in our Fraternity and we expect our members to be positive contributors to inclusive campus environments," fraternity Executive Director Justin Kirk said in the statement.

Unrest at the school, widely known as "Mizzou," was sparked last September when black student and Missouri Students Association President Payton Head said on his Facebook page he was repeatedly racially abused on campus by someone riding in a pickup truck.

Head's post went viral and students demonstrated over what they said was the lack of a strong reaction from university President Tim Wolfe.

One student waged a hunger strike pending Wolfe's departure, the university's football players refused to practice or play until Wolfe stepped down, and some teachers and students threatened to boycott classes. Wolfe resigned last November.

(Reporting By Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Peter Cooney)