Georgia Tech lifted its suspension on Phi Delta Theta on Wednesday. The fraternity had been placed on suspension after being accused of shouting racial slurs at a black female student.
The woman claimed that the brothers shouted slurs at her from the windows in their chapter house as she walked by. The brothers were immediately placed on “suspension in abeyance” which barred them from all non-academic activities and required that they participate in sensitivity training. The real punishment endured by the brothers, however, was being branded as racists by their university and the national media. Even worse was the public backlash. Protests. Death threats. You know, the usual reaction when a fraternity is accused of something without it being proven.
The only evidence against the fraternity was videotape — no audio — of her walking by the house. She did not flinch, as someone might do if they are being called a terrible slur. Further, the windows the brothers allegedly shouted from had been boarded up for some time.
Earl Earhart, a former chief judge of the Georgia Supreme Court and board member at Georgia Tech who was fed up with the university’s history of denying students proper due process, went to battle for the brothers. Arguing that there was a lack of both evidence and due process in the case, he managed to get the suspension lifted.
The judge who initially suspended the fraternity, Leah Ward Sears, is sticking by her guns. Sears says that she did in fact grant proper due process to the brothers and that there was sufficient evidence to prove that harassment occurred. Sears says the case was overturned because of a very different reason.
Sears also noted that Georgia Tech’s policy doesn’t allow punishment of a whole organization unless it can be proven that the leaders were complicit in the actions. The undergraduate judicial panel found that the fraternity’s leadership was not complicit.
Sears is full of shit. I have never heard of a fraternity getting let off the hook because exec didn’t know about something bad that happened. That is simply not a thing. Sears knows she unfairly denied the fraternity due process. She’s just trying to save face.
I hope she has the dignity to apologize to the chapter for condemning them, villainizing them, and publicly labeling them as racists with next to no evidence. Fuck, I think Phi Delta Theta should sue her ass..