VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A UBC student has been booted from one of the fraternities on campus after mocking the death of George Floyd on social media.
A picture the student shared on Snapchat featured the words “Out here looking for a n***** to put my knee on his neck.”
It was shared last month but only came to the public light over the past week.
A Twitter user posted a screenshot on Friday suggesting the student’s scholarship be taken away, while an anonymous fraternity member took to Instagram a day later to claim Delta Kappa Epsilon and its members initially did nothing about the image.
“Somebody in my frat sent a picture to us mocking George Floyd’s murder,” the Instagram post from an account named untoldubcgreek reads. “The only person who stood up to him got turned on by so many guys that he ended up dropping. Nobody listened to him, and the person who sent the picture got no punishment of any kind.”
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CW: racism, police brutality, anti-Black violence Somebody in my frat sent a picture to us mocking George Floyd’s murder. The only person who stood up to him got turned on by so many guys that he ended up dropping. Nobody listened to him, and the person who sent the picture got no punishment of any kind. I regret not saying anything earlier. Being apart of the Greek system means complying with institutional racism, and the frats, execs, or the members just don’t care. I am considering dropping out now. They even tried to scare the guy who called them out. The whole system is perpetuates racism no matter how much they deny it. #iamubc #ubcfraternities
The anonymous Instagram post continues by saying the poster regrets “not saying anything earlier,” and that “Being apart of the Greek system means complying with institutional racism, and the frats, execs, or the members just don’t care. I am considering dropping out now.”
It even claims the fraternity “tried to scare” the member who brought the post up.
“The whole system is [sic] perpetuates racism no matter how much they deny it,” the social media post concludes.
In response to the offensive post on Snapchat, Delta Kappa Epsilon issued a statement on social media saying it launched a judicial board process after finding out about it.
“We cannot express how powerful of an effect the Black Lives Matter movement has had within the Phi Alpha of Delta Kappa Epsilon, and how eye-opening the movement has been in allowing us to identify biases that our Chapter may have unknowingly had,” the fraternity’s Instagram post reads.
It admits to an imperfect past, and that it recognizes “the conversation around racism has been stigmatized in a fraternal environment.”
“It is true that an insensitive and inappropriate image regarding the death of George Floyd had come into circulation from one of our former members,” the statement from the account dkeubc explains, adding the fraternity was initially told about the post by a member.
The UBC chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon claims it “immediately” began its Judicial Board process — which it notes is required before anyone is forced out of the fraternity — on June 12 after being informed.
“This individual was then removed from our organization,” it adds.
Changes in the works
Acknowledging that actions are stronger than words, the fraternity says it’s committed itself to make changes, in an effort to “destigmatize the conversation around racism internally.”
As part of these changes, Delta Kappa Epsilon says it’s working on establishing and implementing an anti-racism strategy, which includes a zero-tolerance for racist behaviour.
The strategy, it adds, will include organizing workshops to educate members about “systemic, historic, and current inequities” that fraternities, include their own, have promoted, as well as other workshops around “sexual and gender-based violence, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
In addition to these and other measures, the fraternity says it’s also working on creating an anonymous platform for complaints regarding racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Meanwhile, the fraternity’s international headquarters which was “made aware of a harmful and racist social media post made by a student” at UBC in June says it has also launched an investigation into the conduct of the member at the centre of the controversy, as well as how the fraternity’s Vancouver chapter handled the situation.
“As members of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, we believe in the rights and feelings of others and the need to provide personal dignity to all,” the statement adds. “Our Objects call us to live with a spirit of tolerance and respect for the rights and views of others. This former member’s post was antithetical to the mission, vision, and values of our fraternity.”
Saying it is aware of the social media content in question, UBC says in a tweet “Actions are being taken and appropriate University processes are being followed.”
It adds that privacy laws prevent the school from discussing any specifics referred to in the tweet highlight the offensive post, but adds “we want to assure you that UBC treats allegations of racism very seriously.”
(2/2) Privacy law prevents us from discussing the specifics of the incident you are referencing; we want to assure you that UBC treats allegations of racism very seriously.
— University of British Columbia (@UBC) July 28, 2020
The group representing UBC’s 10 fraternities has also weighed in, saying it was made aware “disturbing information concerning a former member mocking the death of George Floyd at the hands of MPD officers.”
A statement from the Interfraternity Council (IFC) stresses “bigotry of any form has no place in Greek Life” and that it is “cognizant of the fact that for every incident that is reported, there are many others that do not.”
Among Delta Kappa Epsilon’s anti-racism strategy is a request to the IFC to “create discussion tables for members to have recognizing conversations to acknowledge that we need to improve ourselves,” something the group says it will work on in the days and weeks ahead.
“To further facilitate these conversations, the IFC will be in contact with UBC Equity and Inclusion and other willing stakeholders to craft and implement policy changes, to re-commit UBC Fraternities to a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination, racism and bigotry, and to address issues of systemic racism within UBC Greek Life.”