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UR suspends fraternity following video depicting racist comments
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UR suspends fraternity following video depicting racist comments

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University of Richmond

The University of Richmond suspended the Kappa Sigma fraternity on Monday, a day after a 2-year-old video depicting racist behavior resurfaced online.

The clip shows a shirtless male chanting “the South will rise again,” reported the university’s student newspaper, The Collegian.

Vowing to conduct an investigation, the university ceased all fraternity activity, and the fraternity’s national headquarters suspended operations of the chapter.

“The behavior recorded in the video is shameful and despicable,” UR president Kevin Hallock wrote to the university community. “I am appalled by what I have seen and heard. This is not who we are, nor who we aspire to be.”

During the suspension, Kappa Sigma cannot conduct any activities or recruit members, a university spokesperson said. Fraternities at UR have lodges for activities, but students don’t live in those facilities. Kappa Sigma cannot use its lodge during the suspension. It’s unclear how long the punishment will last.

The fraternity’s headquarters, located in Charlottesville, called the behavior “contrary to the inclusiveness and principles valued by Kappa Sigma,” wrote Mitchell B. Wilson, the fraternity’s executive director.

The chapter, referred to as Beta Beta, will be required to work with the fraternity’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commission during the suspension, Wilson added. The fraternity headquarters also is investigating.

Sitting behind beer cans and plastic cups, the man in the video, identified by the student paper as UR senior and Kappa Sigma member Josh Arcidiacono, is one of four shirtless men. While chanting, full-throated, “the South will rise again,” he stands up, claps and hops up and down.

Another person sings the lyrics to the song “Dixie,” an unofficial anthem for the Confederacy.

Someone in the video utters, “I want to be a slave owner.” An image of a Civil War battle appears on the television.

Hallock called it “overtly racist behavior” and noted the video includes UR students.

“We were joking around pretending to be the confederates versus the Union,” Arcidiacono said in an email to The Collegian. “Obviously, these jokes were inappropriate and made in very bad taste. I’m ashamed of my actions here and regret that this happened.”

According to The Collegian, the video was made in early 2020. It’s unclear why it surfaced last weekend. The newspaper reported that an anonymous email account sent the video to The Collegian, an administrator and two former Greek life employees.

Two students told the student paper they left Kappa Sigma because of ongoing issues of racism and flouting of COVID-19 protocols.

This isn’t the first race-related problem on campus this semester. In November, graffiti described by Hallock as anti-Semitic and white supremacist was left on two bathroom stalls on campus.

Following the incident, Hallock urged the UR community to create “a campus environment where all are welcome and feel an enormous sense of belonging.”

ekolenich@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6109

Twitter: @EricKolenich

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Eric Kolenich writes about higher education, health systems and more for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the newspaper in 2009 and spent 11 years in the Sports section. (804) 649-6109

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