Statement by President Bill Powers on UT Fraternity Issues

The following is a statement from UT Austin President Bill Powers:

Many of you have read that the president of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, has expelled two students and cut ties to OU's chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity after a racist chant by its members was captured on video. This has renewed questions about our response to an off-campus UT Austin fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (FIJIs), that hosted a party where some guests dressed in costumes expressing racial stereotypes.

Both of these incidents were hurtful and offended many. I deplore this behavior, which is contrary to the core values of The University of Texas at Austin.

Our dean of students has worked extensively with the group to educate its members on the harm it has caused and to reconcile it to the greater community. The FIJIs have apologized, have been fully engaged with the dean of students' efforts, and have reached out to Latino groups. The FIJIs and one Latino group collaborated on a recent day of service. Much work remains but this is a positive start.

Additionally, a photo of alleged FIJI pledge rules has surfaced online. This ugly document appeared in 2007 and was largely believed to be a hoax even then.

Rumors also are circulating that a chant similar to the one at OU has been traditional in the UT chapter of SAE. Our dean of students said Monday she is looking into this matter as is standard practice in such cases.

Through its programs, through its efforts in the U.S. Supreme Court, and through its student and faculty recruiting, The University of Texas remains committed to creating a diverse campus. I remain committed to a campus that welcomes everyone.

Updated at 10:20 a.m. on March 11, 2015.