Apr. 18 2014
A pre-2003 Georgia state flag, featuring the Confederate battle emblem, was also draped over the statue’s face.
After an investigation, Sigma Phi Epsilon has decided to close its Ole Miss chapter, the University said Thursday. The three students responsible, who are all from Georgia, have been kicked out of the fraternity, CBS News reported.
The school is pursuing disciplinary action against the students, according to an Ole Miss spokesman. The FBI is also investigating.
No state charges are forthcoming, said the Lafayette County district attorney, because Mississippi’s hate crime laws only apply when there’s a separate underlying crime. The statue wasn’t actually damaged, so prosecutors aren’t pursuing vandalism charges.
In the wake of the noose incident, a review of the 130-member chapter uncovered repeated incidents of underage drinking and hazing. Officially, the chapter was suspended for these violations, not the faux-lynching of a significant black figure from the university’s history.
"The closure is not a result of what happened with the Meredith statue, but the Meredith statue precipitated the intensive review of how they conduct business," a spokesman said.
The chapter has been open since 1987, and was previously investigated in 2010. Members have been banned from throwing parties, and will lose their house at the end of the semester.
According to Sigma Phi’s national chapter, the frat has very little chance of returning to Ole Miss before its current members graduate.
James Meredith enrolled at Ole Miss in 1962, in the face of a protest that required intervention from federal authorities. Two people died and several were injured in the conflict.
Meredith is now 80 years old.
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