SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Drury confirmed Monday it was investigating a social media post featuring a Sigma Nu fraternity member using a racial slur and flashing faux gang signs.
In the seven-second post from what appears to be Snapchat, the white upperclassman is inside a room with the word “Sigma” spelled out above a window.
In addition to the racial slur, the student repeatedly uses the word “blood” – an apparent reference to the Bloods street gang. At least one girl can be heard giggling off-camera.
The post was shared on Twitter late Thursday with a comment: “Pro-tip: If you’re going to use racial slurs maybe make sure no one is filming you.”
The university – tagged in a reply to the post – responded by condemning the “use of any language/action that demeans or degrades an individual or group of people. We are a welcoming community that embraces diversity.”
Drury also noted that the “appropriate people are investigating this incident to determine if there has been a violation of university policy.”
The university’s Sigma Nu fraternity posted a statement Friday on Twitter that it was aware of the post and the “member involved has been suspended until all facts of the matter come out.”
In the tweet, the fraternity noted it was “dealing with this issue internally” and planned to take the “appropriate action” – though it did not specify what action. Sigma Nu also apologized for the member’s language.
Sigma Nu added: “The chapter in no way condones the words or behaviors displayed in this video. The chapter has a zero-tolerance policy for any use of discriminatory words or actions.”
Mike Brothers, executive director of university relations, said Drury’s Office of Student Affairs plans to send a letter notifying the student of the investigation. He said no formal complaint has been filed.
“They will be taking a look at this to see if it violates any policy,” he said. “And they’ll be meeting with him to reiterate the policy.”
The Drury student handbook prohibits any discrimination and harassment.
Brothers said students who violate that policy face a range of sanctions including fines, community service, loss of participation in campus organizations, and expulsion.
He said the university’s decision to look into the matter is not an immediate “assumption of guilt.”
“We want to make sure we are a welcoming and affirming campus and this seems antithetical with that,” he said.
Brothers said the university wants to foster civil discussion, especially on difficult topics, and hopes this situation will foster healthy dialogue about what is appropriate and what crosses the line.
“We always welcome students bringing issues to our attention,” he said. “We encourage students to file a formal complaint so we can investigate thoroughly and appropriately.”
He said any student interested in filing a complaint can do so confidentially at www.drury.edu/webtip.
(Story by Springfield News-Leader. Read the original article here.)