The University of Maryland is investigating a student who allegedly authored an email laden with racist and sexist language, school authorities said. The student was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the time he sent the email, marking another high-profile incident of racially offensive behavior in campus fraternities in recent weeks.
“The vulgar language in the email expresses views that are reprehensible to our campus community,” wrote University of Maryland President Wallace Loh in a statement published on the school website Friday, adding the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct was leading an investigation on the student. He added the university had been in touch with the Kappa Sigma fraternity, which took “swift and decisive action” on the issue.
Earlier this week, Kappa Sigma denounced the contents of the email and said the student 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,” Kappa Sigma said in a statement posted on its website.
The brief email, which was filled with racial epithets, explicit sexual language and offensive terms to refer to black and Asian women, had been written in January 2014 and sent to six people. But it only came to authorities’ attention this week, igniting a firestorm of outrage on campus.
The incident comes on the heels of a video released by a chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, in which fraternity members were taped singing a chant filled with racial slurs. The university disbanded the fraternity and closed down its house shortly after the video surfaced.
The University of Washington is also investigating an incident in which Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members allegedly lobbed racist insults at students participating in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in February.