The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity has expelled four men in response to an Islamophobic post on the social media app Yeti, according to a statement it released to the Kansan Monday night.
The statement cited a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination as the reason the fraternity expelled four members within 24 hours of them admitting involvement, it said.
“As an organization dedicated to our founding as the world's first Jewish fraternity, we take a strong stance against bigotry and intolerance in all forms,” said the statement, submitted by Ben Felderstein, the fraternity’s vice president of external affairs.
The post was a 10-second video of a few men laughing as one yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is greatest” in Arabic.
Shegufta Huma, president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA)at the University, also gave the Kansan a statement on behalf of the organization. She said the MSA and other muslims on campus have “been appreciative of Zeta Beta Tau’s swift independent action.”
“They demonstrated their willingness to ensure the Muslim community feels valued,” Huma said in the statement. “The actions of these four individuals do not represent the values and standards of Zeta Beta Tau. This type of hateful behavior is entirely unacceptable and marginalized the Muslim community.”
Huma said the MSA has been in talks with members of ZBT to prevent similar events from occurring in the future, and the organization is planning ways to educate the University community to be a safe, inclusive environment for all students.
Radwan Dayib, a junior from Emporia, first tweeted about the post on April 10.
“Disgusted. Guy on Jayhawk snaps stereotypically depicts Muslims. Yells ‘Allahu Akbar’ with friends laughing,” the tweet, which has since been deleted, read.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs released a statement on April 10, which said it is committed to social justice and equality for all.
“We stand in solidarity with all students, faculty and staff and are here to support, listen and provide a safe space for all to grieve, process and heal,” the statement read.
The full statements from the fraternity and the president of the Muslim Student Association can be read below.
— Edited by Valerie Haag
Editor’s note: Several Kansan staff members, including Felderstein, are members of the mentioned fraternity. None of those staffers contributed to the reporting on this story.
The statement from Zeta Beta Tau, in full:
“The Zeta Beta Tau Epsilon Mu Chapter at the University of Kansas has expelled four university undergraduates after those men admitted involvement in inappropriate acts toward the Muslim community.
These actions were conducted on the individual accord of the men involved and are in no way affiliated with the Epsilon Mu Chapter.
Zeta Beta Tau has a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding, racism, discrimination, and prejudice. As such, the chapter took immediate action and expelled the four men involved with the incident within 24 hours of being notified of their participation.
These actions by no means represent the values, standards, and actions of a brother of Zeta Beta Tau. As brothers of Zeta Beta Tau and as an organization dedicated to our founding as the world's first Jewish Fraternity, we take a strong stance against bigotry and intolerance in all forms.
As members of the Lawrence community, we value all residents regardless of race, religion and beliefs. As an organization, we are ready and willing to take any further action necessary to ensure that those [affected] feel they are valued and appreciated in our community.
The brothers of Zeta Beta Tau Epsilon Mu Chapter regret the actions that took place and hope that we can use this as a stepping stone to start [a] positive conversation that promotes diversity.”
Muslim Student Association statement, from President Shegufta Huma, in full:
“On [April 9], video footage surfaced on the social media app Yeti showing four KU students engaging in Islamophobic behavior. This occurred merely days after KU students posted Islamophobic comments on a similar app called Yik Yak. The KU Muslim community understandably felt attacked and expressed concerns for their safety.
The four individuals involved with the Yeti video were later identified as members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Prior to reaching out to the Muslim Student Association, leadership from Zeta Beta Tau took action. They expelled the four men involved with the incident within 24 hours of notification of their participation, because they felt the actions were conducted on an individual level and are not reflective of the organization as a whole.
The Muslim Student Association and other members of the Muslim community at KU have been appreciative of Zeta Beta Tau’s swift independent action. They demonstrated their willingness to ensure the Muslim community feels valued. The actions of these four individuals do not represent the values and standards of Zeta Beta Tau. This type of hateful behavior is entirely unacceptable and marginalized the Muslim community.
The Muslim Student Association has since engaged in dialogue with Zeta Beta Tau to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. The Muslim Student Association is currently planning on ways to educate the KU community as part of an extended effort to make KU a safer, inclusive space for all students.”
President of the Muslim Student Association