5 Students Sue Syracuse University For Suspension Over Offensive Video
The five students, including an Indian American, were suspended for a racist, anti-semitic, homophobic video.
Five engineering students, including an Indian American, at Syracuse University in New York have filed a lawsuit against the university to protest their suspension. The five men, members of the fraternity Theta Tau, were seen in a video last month that was considered racist and homophobic, according to reports.
In the case filed on April 24, the plaintiffs said that the university subjected them to “ridicule and scorn,” expelled them from campus, and proclaimed the video as “racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities instead of contextualizing the recording as satirical.”
Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud announced on April 19, 2018 that an investigation was being launched to identify the participants and determine any legal and disciplinary actions that could be taken against Theta Tau.
Referring to the video as “words and behaviors that are extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities,”Syverud said in a letter to the campus, “I am appalled and shaken by this and deeply concerned for all members of our community.”
The fraternity apologized for the video and said in explanation that it was done as a roast of one of the active members.
“Each semester our new members are given the opportunity to write and act out a skit, in order to roast the active brothers. This event was never intended to be centered around racism or hate. This year, one of these brothers is a conservative Republican, and the new members roasted him by playing the part of a racist conservative character. It was a satirical sketch of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist, ableist and intolerant person,” the fraternity said in a statement.
In the video, apart from using derogatory terms for Blacks, Jews and Hispanics, an Indian-American man portraying a dog, woofs while coming onstage as he is slapped by his owner. The actor then simulates a sex act with his master, who repeatedly shouts: “I’m an untouchable.”
In Indian society, Dalits were once considered “untouchables” for being born in what was believed to be a lower caste.
Later in the video, another member said, “I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for niggers, spics, and most importantly the fucking kikes.”
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit said, “All that defendants have done is overreact, speed to judgment, and portray the students as ‘criminals’.” They added that they were suspended during the critical final weeks of the semester, which would affect their grades and college careers.