A Cornell University fraternity chapter has been shut down as officials investigate the alleged assault of a black student last Friday.
According to a statement from Cornell, one undergraduate student was arrested after a “verbal exchange between Cornell students including the use of racial slurs led to a physical assault.” The alleged victim told the New York Times that when he arrived home early Friday morning, he encountered the group of students arguing with his housemates. When one of the students called him a racial slur as he tried to get them to leave, “he confronted them, and four or five of them turned on him and started punching him in the face.”
John Greenwood, a 19-year-old student at the school, was charged with assault in the incident. He denied the accusations.
The university’s statement did not confirm that the students involved were members of the fraternity, and it told The Times it was trying to determine if some or all of the students were members. The school’s student newspaper reported that the fraternity’s alumni group had denied Greenwood was a member.
But the alumni board of the fraternity made the decision to permanently shut down the chapter of Psi Upsilon. Since 2016, the fraternity, which had a history of complaints over its members’ behavior, had been under a three-year-long ban from the university, meaning it could not take advantage of university benefits and recruit new members.
The fraternity initially had been suspended in 2016 when its president had been accused of rape. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sex offense. The fraternity then received its three-year ban when it violated the rules of that suspension by throwing a party.
Earlier this month, a member of a different fraternity at Cornell allegedly chanted “build a wall” near the university’s “Latino Living Center” after Trump ordered the end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
While the fraternity has been shut down, its property and building are undergoing renovations. According to Cornell, when completed it will be used for student organizations “that are dedicated to promoting a diverse and inclusive student community.”