The University of Georgia
Birthplate University of Georgia Placard (Adobe Stock)

The University of Georgia chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity has been suspended, and four students from the group have been expelled.  According to the university and the organization’s national office, the students are being disciplined because a video showing one white student whipping another has been circulated heavily on social media. More alarming than the vicious act is that the student on the video is barking the following order: “Pick my cotton, ni–er.”

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The trouble unfolded on Friday after Twitter user @sukari_xo posted a video that showed a white male, smiling, as he playfully whips a student underneath bed covers and chants: “Pick my cotton, bitch.” A voice in the background is heard saying that the white male with the belt is using the wrong words. At that point, he changes his chant to “Pick my cotton, ni–er.”

“We cannot let them push this under the rug,” @sukari_xo, also known as “Nova,” posted to Twitter with a link to the video. The poster has Georgia State University in her Twitter profile.

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After the video spread across social media, the University of Georgia acted swiftly, and its Student Government Association announced the same day that a fraternity had been suspended in connection with the video.

“The executive officers of the Student Government Association are aware of a video circulating on social media that depicts individuals identified as members of a UGA Greek organization using racist language and engaging in behaviors that mock the suffering of enslaved peoples,” the SGA posted to Twitter on Friday. “We have been notified that the chapter is currently suspended, and we can confirm that there is an investigation underway regarding the students involved in the video.”

The statement was signed by Ammishaddai Grand-Jean, SGA president, Charlene Marsh, vice president, and Destin Mizelle, treasurer.

On Saturday, the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which turned 120-years-old in January, followed up and released a statement saying that four of its members had been expelled in connection with the video.

“TA University of Georgia chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity has been suspended and four students from the group have been expelled after a video circulated on social media showing one student whipping another is disgusted, appalled and angered by the remarks shown in a video of four expelled members,” the fraternity said in the statement posted to Twitter. “TKE will not tolerate any actions such as these that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive.”

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In a statement published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the University of Georgia also condemned the students’ actions.

“The University of Georgia condemns racism in the strongest terms,” the statement read. “Racism has no place on our campus. We will continue our efforts to promote a welcoming and supportive learning environment for our students, faculty and staff.”