Leaked Emails Show Racist Culture at University of Chicago Fraternity: Report

Members of AEPi, a historically Jewish fraternity, reportedly called a Muslim student government member a terrorist, used the n-word, and planned to celebrate “Marathon Luther King Day” by drinking and eating at a fried-chicken restaurant.

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Members of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity at the University of Chicago are under scrutiny after leaked internal emails showed racist and other offensive remarks made against Muslims, black people and women, BuzzFeed reports

In the emails, a Muslim student-activist was referred to as a “terrorist,” and members detailed how they planned to celebrate “Marathon Luther King Day” by drinking and eating at a fried-chicken restaurant. BuzzFeed received a copy of the emails, which the dean of students slammed as “offensive.” The fraternity, the news site notes, has promised an investigation into the emails, which were sent to the chapter email discussion group between 2011 and 2015 to active members as well as alumni. 

Other comments included members’ defense of the use of the n-word, including in a member’s nickname; references to an abandoned lot as “Palestine”; and saying that “dynamite and C-4” explosives were fixtures of Islamic culture, BuzzFeed notes.

A July 2014 email from a frat brother who seemed to be traveling in Israel had the subject line “Towel Heads.” 

In one email from July 2011, a frat member warned the chapter not to use his nickname, which has the n-word, unless “you need to satisfy your inner klansman,” because despite being “very, very funny, it’s also very, very racist.” 

Another member responded by saying, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word [n–ger]. By calling it the n-word you are giving it power that it doesn’t deserve.”

Another said, “What’s racist about it? It’s based on Winnie the Pooh!” 

One document, titled, “Floor Three Constitution,” seemed to provide guidelines for dating, and one rule stated, “No fatties. No one wants to be or be friends with a fat girl f–ker. Do not f–k or f–k with or do anything you can avoid doing with a fatty.”  

“As a Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi is especially sensitive to hate speech and behavior towards any minorities,” Jonathan Pierce, a former international president of AEPi and the national spokesperson for the frat, told BuzzFeed. “Especially during these troubling times of increased anti-Semitism on college campuses, we are very aware of the harm that negative speech towards minority groups can do. We will investigate and, if necessary, work to educate the individual members about this issue.”

Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen added, “The language used in these private emails is offensive, and it is not consistent with the university’s values or our strong commitment to ensuring that people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives can thrive on our campus.”

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