A national organization Friday indefinitely suspended a fraternity chapter at the University of Mississippi and expelled three of its freshman members because of their suspected involvement in hanging a noose on a statue of the first black student to enroll in the then all-white college, the Associated Press reports.
Sigma Phi Epsilon said in a statement obtained by the AP that it had suspended the Alpha Chapter at the university, and the chapter voted to expel all three men and submit their names and identities to investigators.
The statue of James Meredith was discovered Sunday with a noose tied around the neck, along with an old Georgia flag that bears a Confederate battle emblem.
Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson called the act a “hate crime” at a Tuesday press conference at the State Capitol, as The Root reported earlier this week. And the Old Miss Alumni Association put up a $25,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of the vandals.
On Friday, the FBI told the AP that it planned to expand the vandalism investigation for potential violations of federal law.
Meredith became a national figure when he attempted to enroll at the school in the fall of 1962 and Mississippi’s governor tried to stop him. The incident led to violence on the Oxford campus.
Read more at the Associated Press.