After a video surfaced of Syracuse’s Theta Tau engineering fraternity brothers acting out a sketch that openly mocked black and Jewish people, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community and more, the members fought the university’s condemnation of their acts with a law suit.
During the video, the brothers can be seen feigning sexual acts on each other as a way of mocking homosexuality, as well as taking part of what they call a ‘sacred oath.’ As a part of the oath, one of the brothers kneels before his superior and repeats, “I solemnly swear to always have hate in my heart for n•ggers, sp*cs, and most importantly, the f****ng k*kes.”
Another section of the ritual was composed of members pretending to be disabled and sexually harassed. During this, one member called out, “He’s drooling out of his mouth, because he’s retarded in a wheelchair. Yankee is totally unaware of this light rape that’s occurring.”
Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud immediately sent out a school-wide email that rejected the videos for being “extremely racist, anti-semetic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities.”
The fraternity was expelled and 18 of its members suspended. However, five of them are currently suing the school for apparently causing “injury to their reputation,” Syracuse.com reports.
The pledges or active members suing claim that the school is wrong for incorrectly branding them in the Chancelor’s email, and argues that the school “selectively commented on snippets” of the video instead of considering the scene as a satirical sketch. Also, the lawsuit states that the university acted to “malign the students personally to salvage Syracuse University’s reputation at the Plaintiff’s expense.”
Because the students are currently barred from class, they believe their rights are being impended upon and that the university is at fault for “threatening their academic success and survival.”
Each of the five unnamed students are asking for $1 million apiece.