University President Wallace Loh issued a statement Thursday night in response to an offensive email sent in January 2014 by a member of this university’s Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter.
The email came to the attention of university administrators Tuesday after it was forwarded to a staff member in the Division of Student Affairs, Brian Ullmann, marketing and communications assistant vice president, wrote in an email.
Administrators confirmed the email is authentic and that the person who sent it is a student at this university, Ullmann wrote. The email is signed “AJ Hurwitz.”
The email expressed “views that are reprehensible to our campus community,” Loh stated in the release, which was posted on the university’s website.
The fraternity member allegedly wrote the email during last year’s spring rush period, addressing Kappa Sigma members and telling them — through the use of various racial slurs — to avoid inviting black, Indian and Asian women to their rush parties.
The student also alluded to sexual assault, writing “f--- consent.”
Loh’s release stated that this university’s Kappa Sigma chapter has taken “swift and decisive action” and has asked the university “to provide educational training on diversity and respect for the entire fraternity.”
After learning of the email, the fraternity immediately suspended the member, who subsequently submitted a letter of resignation, according to a statement released this morning by the national Kappa Sigma chapter in response to the email.
The email is gaining media attention and spread virally on Twitter. Its release comes days after a video of nine Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members from the University of Oklahoma singing racist chants on a bus was publicized.
There are times when I feel compelled to speak out as a person, and not as a university president. This is one of those times.
— Wallace D. Loh (@presidentloh) March 13, 2015
The utter disregard for decency, the racist invective, the mindless disparaging of sexual consent, has left me angry and profoundly saddened
“We are all shocked, outraged and appalled at this email and we condemn its language in the strongest possible way,” Ullmann wrote. “The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Greek Life staff are planning educational interventions with the UMD chapter of Kappa Sigma immediately following spring break. There are initial plans for a Greek life forum so that students can heal and process these events.”
This university “remains committed to [its] core values of respect for human dignity, diversity, and inclusiveness,” according to Loh’s statement.
The national Kappa Sigma chapter stated that this university’s chapter is “presently engaging in proceedings to formally expel the individual from Kappa Sigma.”
“The language and views expressed in the email were inexcusable and are in stark contrast to the values of Kappa Sigma Fraternity,” the statement read. “They are counter to everything Kappa Sigma stands for.”
Members of Kappa Sigma could not be reached for additional comment.