Officials at the University of Maryland are launching an investigation after an e-mail that contains “vulgar language” was allegedly sent by an undergraduate student who was a member of the school’s Kappa Sigma fraternity.
An e-mail dated January 2014 and posted to the Internet in recent days appears to be from a student identified as attending U-Md., and it contains a racist, sexist message indicating that he wants to have sex with women during rush week but didn’t want people to invite women of certain races. The note also contains a line using expletives to indicate that “above all else” to forget about “consent.”
In a statement issued late Thursday, University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said the school became aware of the message on March 10. He went on to say that the “vulgar language in the email expresses views that are reprehensible to our campus community.”
Loh said the university was “deeply saddened by the impact this email is having on our community.”
In his statement, Loh gave no specifics about the e-mail and did not say who sent it, who received it or how it surfaced.
The Maryland case comes at a time of increased scrutiny of Greek life following a viral video that showed members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s at the University of Oklahoma chapter singing a song with a derogatory word for African Americans. Two students at that school have been expelled, and officials there shut down the chapter’s house at the campus.
On Friday, Kappa Sigma fraternity put up a statement on its Web site saying that it was “just made aware” of the e-mail. The fraternity said the e-mail was sent by an undergraduate University of Maryland student who was a member of the fraternity to six other individuals. The e-mail, it said, contains “racially and sexually suggestive language.” It did not specify to whom the e-mail was sent.
The fraternity said that the student was “immediately suspended” from the fraternity chapter pending an investigation. The person subsequently submitted a letter of resignation from Kappa Sigma, the fraternity said. And the fraternity said it is working to “formally expel” the person from Kappa Sigma.
The student’s parents, reached separately by telephone Friday morning, declined to comment.
In its statement, the fraternity said “the language and views expressed in the email were inexcusable and are in stark contrast to the values of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.”
“They are counter to everything Kappa Sigma stands for.”
The group called the incident “clearly unfortunate,” but said it was pleased to see the “swift and decisive action” being taken by its chapter at Maryland.
Officials at the university “immediately met with the individual involved and a University investigation is currently underway,” according to Loh’s statement. He said that an investigation is being led by the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct.
University officials said they are also in touch with the school’s chapter of Kappa Sigma, and “they have taken swift and decisive action in this matter.”
The “entire fraternity” of Kappa Sigma was expected to receive “educational training on diversity and respect,” Loh said in his statement. He said fraternity officials requested the training.
Loh also said in his statement that “the University of Maryland remains committed to our core values of respect for human dignity, diversity, and inclusiveness.”