The executive director of Alpha Epsilon Pi said Thursday, he was "personally appalled" by the racially charged emails exchanged between brothers at the University of Chicago and published by BuzzFeed News on Wednesday.
In a statement on the national fraternity website, Andrew Borans described the emails — in which brothers referred to a Muslim student activist as a "terrorist" and wrote about celebrating "Marathon Luther King Day" by drinking and eating at a fried chicken restaurant — as "hate speech" that would not be tolerated.
He said the fraternity would work with the brothers to "implement programs which will educate our members about the dangers of intolerance and hate speech."
Here's the full statement:
“I was personally appalled when I saw the personal emails distributed by members of our chapter at the University of Chicago. Hate speech like this is completely antithetical to the Jewish values of Alpha Epsilon Pi. We are working with our brothers to implement programs which will educate our members about the dangers of intolerance and hate speech.
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.”
The president of Alpha Epsilon Pi at the University of Chicago also announced measures to address the emails on Wednesday.
Joshua Benadiva, the "Master" of AEPi Lambda's chapter made the announcement on the public "Overheard at UChicago" Facebook group, hours after BuzzFeed News published the story.
In his post, Benadiva wrote that "we are disgusted" by the emails sent to the fraternity list-host and said the current Executive Board would "investigate and confront" the individuals who sent them.
He also said that chapter has asked for additional educational resources from the university and the national fraternity to "improve our educational program."
The full Facebook post reads:
Dear University of Chicago Community,
I'm Josh Benadiva, the president of AEPi.
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.
We can and will continue to do better. We have solicited additional educational resources from the University of Chicago and from our national fraternity organization to improve our educational program and will continue to do so. To our friends who feel hurt, betrayed, or let down, we ask for an opportunity to regain your trust and confidence.
Feel free to message me individually if you have any comments, questions, or really anything.
Benadiva and the chapter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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