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By Phil Helsel
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity said it has expelled four members at a chapter at the University of Georgia after video surfaced appearing to show men using a racial slur about black people and talking about picking cotton.
“Tau Kappa Epsilon is disgusted, appalled and angered by the remarks shown in a video of four expelled members,” the national fraternity said in a statement. “TKE will not tolerate any actions such as these that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive.”
The video, which has not been verified by NBC News, appears to show one white man using a belt to slap another who is under covers in bed, and someone saying “pick my cotton” followed by an expletive. The person being hit says, “I am not black.”
In the video, when someone else says “you’re not using the right words,” a racial slur can be heard.
A spokesman for Tau Kappa Epsilon said the video shared on social media is the video in question. The fraternity said it was made aware of the video on Friday, and the event was not a Tau Kappa Epsilon function.
“These four individuals acted outside the expectations of our membership and their chapter and therefore were removed from both,” Tau Kappa Epsilon said.
Tau Kappa Epsilon in a memo to the Xi-Lambda chapter dated Friday said it was temporarily suspended effective immediately.
The national fraternity spokesman said temporary suspension is standard procedure while an investigation is under way, and it “ceases all actions of the chapter without prior authorization from our office temporarily.”
The University of Georgia said in a statement that it “condemns racism in the strongest terms,” that “racism has no place on our campus,” and that “the fraternity has been suspended by its national organization.”
“We will continue our efforts to promote a welcoming and supportive learning environment for our students, faculty and staff,” the university said in a statement released by spokesman Greg Trevor.
Incidents involving racist videos at other fraternities and universities have occurred in recent years.
The University of Oklahoma in 2015 shut down Sigma Alpha Epsilon after video was recorded on a bus showing members chanting a racial slur and referencing lynching.