JACKSON, Miss. – A University of Mississippi fraternity has been suspended for a year after a black student said he was the victim of a racial slur and a physical assault at a party, school officials said Friday.
Freshman Jeremiah Taylor, 18, said he was pushed down the stairs while attending a Delta Kappa Epsilon party Aug. 22 on the Oxford campus, according to school officials. The student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, reported Friday on its Web site that Taylor said he was called the N-word at the party.
Taylor, of Southaven, filed a complaint on Aug. 24 with the Dean of Students' office, said Jeffrey Alford, Associate Vice Chancellor for university relations at Ole Miss.
Alford said the party got out of hand and people were asked to leave. Taylor told Mississippi Public Broadcasting in a Sept. 10 radio report that he was on his way downstairs, when "a guy in an orange shirt threw a beer can at me and hit me in my left shoulder." Then others shoved him down the stairs, he said.
Ole Miss officials said Friday the school's judicial council had found the historically white fraternity guilty of violations of harassment, assault, disorderly conduct, possession of alcohol and hosting an unauthorized party.
Alford said the fraternity was also fined $1,000, which will be used to fund an alcohol and drug education program; its members were required to perform 20 hours of community service and attend a racial sensitivity program. Members can continue to live at the residence, but they cannot recruit or socialize, he said.
The newspaper reported this is the first strike against the fraternity in the school's two-strike alcohol policy.
When asked by The Associated Press if this was the first time Ole Miss had suspended a fraternity for racial slurs and harassment, Alford said, "I don't know. It certainly is the first time in recent memory."
He said that all Ole Miss freshmen take a creed that says "I believe in respect for the dignity of each person."