Ole Miss student kicked out of fraternity for making racist gestures at protester

Videa scenes A student impersonating a monkey who made racist gestures toward a black woman who was part of a planned pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Mississippi, known as Ole Miss, went viral last week, and a fraternity announced Sunday it had suspended a member of the school’s chapter over the incident.

Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters a Report It was aware of the widely shared Ole Miss video and said “the racist actions in the video were the actions of one individual and are against the values ​​of Phi Delta Theta and Mississippi Alpha Chapter. The person responsible was suspended from membership on Friday, May 3.”

The individual has not been named, and the school has announced that it is conducting a student investigation into an unnamed student.

The university chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) identified the student making the monkey gestures as James “JP” Staples of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Instagram post On Saturday it called for the expulsion of Staples and the two students, Connor Moore and Ross Davis Boys, who it said were both members of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity – “primary perpetrators of racist comments and actions that constitute demeaning and offensive behavior.” .”

In recent weeks, pro-Palestinian protests have spread across American campuses, met with arrests and counter-protests. At Ole Miss, about 30 pro-Palestinian protesters attended.Planned“The protest, while hundreds of onlookers and protesters jeered them and chanted the Star-Spangled Banner to drown out the protestors’ chants.

An opponent, sign Mississippi Free Press Graduate student Jaylin Smith was singled out for abuse by counter-protesters.

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Videos of the confrontation at Ole Miss drew reactions from lawmakers who spoke out against pro-Palestinian protests across US campuses. Republican Rep. Mike Collins applauded the counter-protesters Post on X He described the viral video as “Ole Miss teenager care business.” Meanwhile, Reeves, a Republican, shared a separate video of protesters and protesters on campus, saying it “warms my heart.”

But the backlash for the blatant racism on display continued. Ole Miss Associated Student Body—the university’s student government—a Report At the protest, “unacceptable comments were made that deviated from our cherished values.”

Jacob Batey, the university’s director of news and media relations, said the same ABC News “Offensive and inappropriate statements were made at a demonstration on our campus on Thursday,” he said, though “they cannot comment specifically on that video.”

Principal Glen Boyce wrote in an email to students and staff Thursday evening that there were no arrests and no injuries at the demonstration, which was “dispersed without incident.” However, Boyce wrote separately Email On Friday night, students were told that “university leaders are aware that certain statements are hurtful, offensive and unacceptable, including acts that express hostility and racial overtones.”

“Student privacy laws prohibit commenting on any particular student. We are working to determine if more cases are needed,” he said.

Phi Delta Theta and Ole Miss did not immediately respond to TIME’s requests for comment.

Boyce referred to Ole Miss’s fraught past—specifically, a history of racism that the school still struggles with—in his memo to university members, saying, “It’s important to acknowledge our challenging history, and incidents like this one that hold us back.”

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“That’s one reason we don’t take this lightly, and we can’t let the unacceptable behavior of a few people speak for our company or define us,” he said.

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