By Michael Nam
The University of Maryland faces its own fraternity scandal in the wake of the racist video that touched off a firestorm at the University of Oklahoma.
Maryland administrators are currently investigating a student for sending an email filled with racist and misogynist language to other members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. The email, reportedly sent in January 2014, contains vulgar language disparaging women of color and explicitly makes reference to sexual assault. The Huffington Post printed what it reports to be a censored text of the email.
“Regardless of the rush shirt let’s get rachet as f*** during rush week,” the sexually and racially explicit email read, in part. “Don’t invite any n****r gals or curry monsters or slanted eye chinks, unless they’re hot. Ziggy you’re [sic] girl can come she’s cool. Remember my n***as, erect, assert, and insert, and above all else, f*** consent … d**ks untouched.”
The school learned of the incident only two days after the OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon video surfaced last week, though it is unclear why the email came to the attention of the school over a year after it was distributed.
Maryland President Wallace Loh released an official statement saying, “The vulgar language in the email expresses views that are reprehensible to our campus community. We immediately met with the individual involved and a university investigation is currently underway, led by the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct.”
Kappa Sigma’s national office stated that the alleged author of the email was immediately suspended pending an investigation, but that he subsequently resigned from the fraternity.
“The language and views expressed in the email were inexcusable and are in stark contrast to the values of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. They are counter to everything Kappa Sigma stands for,” the national office said. “This action by a single individual is in no way representative of the culture or diversity of Kappa Sigma’s chapter at the University of Maryland, nor the character of the general fraternity’s nearly 20,000 undergraduate and more than 220,000 living alumni members.”
In light of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon racist video, and a subsequent look at the issues surrounding that fraternity on a nationwide scale, it’s unsurprising that additional scrutiny is being paid to other organizations. While national fraternities and colleges continue to make statements that racist and misogynist behavior originates with individual members or a small minority, incidents of racism keep piling up as noted by USA Today’s recent timeline.
As for the issue of misogyny and sexual assault in Greek life, a study show that fraternity members are three times more likely to commit rape, and there were at least 36 reported incidents of rape or sexual misconduct involving fraternities in 2014 alone, according to Gawker.