UW-Madison officials are investigating a report that students at a Delta Upsilon Fraternity party racially harassed two African-American students last week.
According to the Division of Student Life, students standing on the Delta Upsilon Fraternity porch off Langdon Street reportedly yelled racial slurs and threw a glass bottle at the two women during a party early March 16.
The women were not injured, but Dean of Students Lori Berquam and Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate Damon Williams said in a joint statement the report “deeply troubled” them.
“It suggests conduct that falls far below what we expect of our students and fraternities,” they said. “We’re very concerned for the victims and want our community to know that it is totally unacceptable to act in this manner toward others.”
Delta Upsilon Fraternity refused to comment on the allegations Wednesday.
The Division of Student Life is conducting the investigation, but Associate Dean of Students Kevin Helmkamp said he does not know when it will be complete.
“I want to complete it as soon as possible but I do not want to jeopardize the integrity of the investigation by trying to a hurry rush to judgment,” Helmkamp said. “I want to be confident that the information I pass on is rooted in a clear understanding of what happened.”
Until the investigation is complete, Berquam has placed Delta Upsilon on an emergency temporary suspension, prohibiting it from student organization privileges such as holding fraternity events.
If the Division of Student Life finds the fraternity in violation of the Greek or university code of conduct, actions could be taken against individual DU members and the fraternity as a whole. Possible sanctions for misconduct include a written warning, probation and suspension or expulsion from the university in extreme circumstances.
The Interfraternity Council and other Greek-affiliated organizations said in a statement they support the investigation, though they do not believe the behavior reflects the entire UW-Madison Greek community.
But Althea Miller, a member of a historically-black sorority, said racial incidents such as this one discourage her from participating in collective Greek activities.
“As a person who is in the black Greek community, why would anybody in a historically black group organization or a multicultural organization want to work with any of the people on Langdon when this is how they treat people?” she said.
This is not the first racial incident on or near Langdon Street this year. Students erupted in anger after Badger House residents hung a black Spiderman doll from their balcony in July that some believed represented a lynching.