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Supreme Court Judge in New York Overturns Suspension of Fraternity at Syracuse University

Supreme Court Judge in New York Overturns Suspension of Fraternity at Syracuse University

“The record is clear: Alpha Chi Rho did nothing wrong”

This frat was suspended in 2019 when someone leaving the frat house allegedly yelled a racial slur. That’s all it took for them to get suspended. The person was not even a member.

Campus Reform reports:

NY Supreme Court judge overturns suspension of Syracuse fraternity, says they ‘did nothing wrong’

A New York State Supreme Court judge has reversed Syracuse University’s suspension of a fraternity who was initially punished because a guest yelled a racial slur after being at the fraternity house.

According to Syracuse.com, when the fraternity, Alpha Chi Rho, was suspended in 2019, the chancellor for Syracuse University, Kent Syverud said that “substantial evidence” existed which proved that members and guests of the fraternity engaged in racist activities.

Initially, the Syracuse University Appeals Board reversed the decision to suspend the fraternity, but their ruling was invalidated by E. Dolan Evanovich, SU’s senior vice president of enrollment and the student experience

However, New York Supreme Court Judge Scott DelConte said in his opinion that Syverud was wrong, and Alpha Chi Rho “did nothing wrong.”

“The record is clear: Alpha Chi Rho did nothing wrong,” DelConte wrote in his opinion.

According to DelConte, only one person yelled a racial slur, and that person was not a member of the fraternity, but rather someone who was a guest of a member at the fraternity on the day he made the racial slur. In addition, the remark occurred off-campus.

DelConte said that there is no evidence that any members of the fraternity were present when the guest yelled the racial slur, and there’s “no provision in the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs policy, or the Code of Student Conduct, that allows the University to punish fraternities for the independent, off-campus actions of former guests.”

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Comments

For those who don’t know, in NY, the Supreme Court is not the highest court in the state. It’s actually a trial court. That means there could be appeals up the chain (though I suspect there won’t be). The highest court in the state is the New York State Court of Appeals.

I know, it makes no sense. It’s New York.

(btw: Not a lawyer. Picked this up long ago in an undergrad course in New York Criminal Procedure Law)

Note that it’s a private university, and therefore not bound by the first amendment. That’s why it’s allowed to ban racial slurs in the first place.

At a government institution there’d be a whole nother level of challenge, even if the offender had been a frat member, and indeed even if it had been an explicitly racist frat.

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