Ole Miss fraternity kicks out member accused of making ape-like sounds toward Black protester

A University of Mississippi fraternity has removed a member who was accused of mimicking a monkey to harass a Black protester at the college’s pro-Palestinian encampment.

Video of the protests went viral last week, showing a group of white men standing across from a lone Black woman participating in the protest, with the men dancing, hooting and chanting. One man mimicked a monkey.

Ole Miss opened a conduct investigation Saturday into the incident, with Chancellor Glenn Boyce saying the counterprotesters’ chants and actions Thursday contained “hostility and racist overtones.”

The Phi Delta Theta fraternity said in a statement Sunday that “the racist actions in the video were those of an individual and are antithetical to the values of Phi Delta Theta and the Mississippi Alpha chapter. The responsible individual was removed from membership on Friday, May 3.”

The pro-Palestinian protesters at Ole Miss were significantly outnumbered by counterprotesters, as campus demonstrations have spread to hundreds of colleges across the country in recent weeks.

The video garnered additional attention when it was shared by Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.). The NAACP criticized Collins for sharing the video and sent a letter to House leaders demanding an Ethics Committee investigation.

“Black America refuses to accept blatant racism from any representative sworn to uphold our constitution,” NAACP spokesperson Alicia Mercedes said in a statement to The Hill on Sunday. “Representative Collins’ decision to publicly condone, and perhaps even celebrate these racist taunts is not only shameful, but also reprehensible.”

Collins defended the decision to share the video Monday but denounced the student’s conduct.

“I understand and respect the feedback that’s been shared regarding a single individual during the Ole Miss protests,” Collins wrote in a statement Monday. “If that person is found to have treated another human being improperly because of their race, they should be punished appropriately, and will hopefully seek forgiveness.”

“Frankly, I did not believe that to be the focal point of the video shared at the time, but I recognize that there certainly seems to be some potentially inappropriate behavior that none of us should see to glorify,” he continued.

The confrontation adds to the school’s long history of racial conflict. Deadly riots broke out when Ole Miss first enrolled a Black student in 1962, and the university has long been associated with Confederate imagery.

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