Feb 05, 2016 11:56 AM EST
Years' Worth of Racist Emails from UChicago's Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity Chapter Leaked
The national Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Lambda chapter at the University of Chicago will "investigate and confront" a litany of racist emails recently made public.
BuzzFeed News published on Wednesday numerous emails exchanged between UC AEPi members ranging in date from 2011 to 2015 obtained by a member who provided the emails on the condition of remaining anonymous. One of the country's most prominent Jewish fraternities, AEPi's national office was "appalled" by the contents of the emails.
Josh Benadiva, the president of the UC AEPi chapter, vowed an investigation and some sort of action against those responsible in a statement posted to Facebook. The chapter also appears to have suspended its website, replacing the home page with a lengthy apology and a step-by-step plan to address the root cause of the issue.
The AEPi national office is also going to investigate the emails, spokesman Jonathan Pierce confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
UC also condemned the emails, the school's dean of students, Michelle Rasmussen, told BuzzFeed News in a statement.
One of the emails detailed an event meant to commemorate Martin Luther King Day called "Marathon Luther King Day." The event included day drinking starting at 9 a.m., a meal at a restaurant known for serving fried chicken, and watching a Blaxploitation parody movie, "Black Dynamite."
Other emails contained disparaging remarks about Muslims, referring to Muslim activists as "terrorists," and referring to C-4 explosives as cultural fixtures. The fraternity member who shared the emails with BuzzFeed News said he took part in these correspondences.
Below are the statements issued by the various involved parties.
Jonathan Pierce, former AEPi international president: "Especially during these troubling times of increased anti-Semitism on college campuses, we are very aware of the harm that negative speech towards minority groups can do. We will investigate and, if necessary, work to educate the individual members about this issue."
Josh Benadiva, Lambda chapter president: "We are disgusted by the emails sent to the fraternity listhost in past years, and regret that such hate was ever a part of the discourse in AEPi. The current Executive Board is doing everything in its power to investigate and confront the individuals of the fraternity who sent these emails. We whole-heartedly condemn this behavior and reaffirm that there is no place for these hateful and bigoted sentiments in our fraternity."
Andrew S. Borens, AEPi executive director: "As a Jewish fraternity, we know as well as anyone the pain of being belittled and marginalized. We don't stand for it when it happens to us and we won't tolerate it when it is being done to others. Silence in the face of such actions is not acceptable. We expect better of our Brothers and we will use this event as a lesson for all of our nearly 10,000 undergraduates."
Michele Rasmussen, UC dean of students: "The language used in these private emails is offensive, and it is not consistent with the University's values or our strong commitment to ensuring that people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives can thrive on our campus."
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