A Syracuse University fraternity has been expelled from campus over an "extremely racist" video that the chapter said was a "satirical sketch" to roast one of its brothers.
Calling the video "racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist," Chancellor Kent Syverud said Saturday that the school had "permanently expelled" the Theta Tau fraternity, and that campus police are continuing to investigate the members involved to recommend charges against them.
The school has also begun a "top-to-bottom review" of its Greek system in the wake of the video, Syverud said in a video message posted to the university's website.
The university did not release the videos but the student-run newspaper, the Daily Orange, posted a recording that showed the engineering fraternity conducting a new member ceremony in March.
The video showed fraternity brothers mimicking an act of oral sex, while one member said, "Fuck black people and fuck spicks!"
The member was then made to repeat an oath that said, "I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for niggers, spics, and most importantly, the fucking kikes," while other brothers can be heard laughing.
In a message posted on their website Thursday, Theta Tau apologized for the video, but provided "context" and "circumstances" that led to the actions of its members.
The fraternity explained that the event gave new members the opportunity to write and act out in a skit that would "roast" the active brothers.
"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," the fraternity said. "It was a satirical sketch of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist, ableist and intolerant person."
Theta Tau said that the "young" men who played the characters "do not hold any of the horrible views espoused as a part of that sketch."
"We would like to believe that the new members seen in the video laughing at the horrible things being said were not laughing in concurrence with these beliefs, but in fact the opposite — that racism, sexism and homophobia are so wrong that they are laughable. None of the satire was said or done in malice," the statement said.
Videos of the event were posted by one of its members in a secret Facebook group called "Tau of Theta Tau," the Daily Orange reported.
While calling the behavior in the video "disgraceful," the national fraternity defended the Syracuse chapter saying that the video "was a parody, skit, or roast of the active brothers by a pledge class, and not Chapter members hazing, humiliating, or disparaging its pledges as the university had described to our Central Office."
"However, this does not excuse the behavior," Matthew Clark, the national fraternity's grand regent, said in a statement.
He added that the fraternity was investigating the incident and that all members involved would be held "appropriately accountable."
The video sparked student protests at Syracuse University, with many demanding the university to release the videos, and accusing officials of not doing enough to protect students of color on campus.
In a message to the campus Wednesday, Syverud said he was "appalled and shaken" by the videos that showed "words and behaviors that are extremely racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities."
He also announced a series of measures Thursday, including a review of Greek life activities and culture, and implicit bias and inclusivity training, for all Greek organization leaders.