'Next Brotherhood Trip: Border Shooting Range'

Racist messages among fraternity brothers at Texas Tech, including head of fraternity council, anger many.

June 25, 2018
 

The president of the fraternity council at Texas Tech University had an idea -- one that he shared with other brothers in a group chat: build a wall along the country’s borders, then legalize hunting the men and women who tried to cross it.

A new “sport” and “tax revenue stream” for the government, Kyle Mitchell, the Interfraternity Council president, declared. He would later complain that immigrants were “too entitled” to work blue-collar jobs.

“AC repairmen make like $60 an hour,” Mitchell wrote. “Sounds pretty good to me, but white people are above that kind of stuff …”

These messages, since made public, have resulted in Mitchell’s ouster and promises by the university to investigate.

“We think it is imperative that people understand that we take this seriously,” Carol A. Sumner, vice president of the Texas Tech division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said at a news conference.

A Twitter account anonymously posted the conversation from the fraternity members. The account has since been deleted, but not before screenshots of the post were circulated widely.

The chat, which was derided online as plainly crass and racist, featured jokes about shooting immigrants. One fraternity member discussed how he met ranchers who “kill illegals” and then bury them under the graves of cattle along the country border.

“As they should,” Mitchell wrote in response.

The Interfraternity Council released a statement on Thursday saying the fraternity brothers’ language had “no place within our organization, school or society.”

“Texas Tech has a robust and proud community of fraternity and sorority members who exemplify what community should mean. The messages shared are not a reflection of the spirit and energy that surrounds so much of Greek life at Texas Tech,” the statement reads.

The council, and the university, which condemned the messages, both said an investigation would be conducted.

“Texas Tech is proud of the diversity that makes up our community. These insensitive and racially charged messages do not reflect our core values,” the university wrote on Twitter Thursday.

After a late-night meeting, the Interfraternity Council Executive Board announced that Mitchell had been replaced. It’s unclear whether he resigned or was kicked out. A Texas Tech spokesman, Chris Cook, said the university had no hand in Mitchell being removed from his position.

Mitchell, from his personal Twitter account, also posted an apology and said he stepped down from his position.

"I now recognize that the comments that I made on GroupMe were egregious, disgusting and lacked morality," Mitchell wrote.

The messages also inspired social media outrage, with some calling for the fraternity brothers to be expelled from the institution. One alumna indicated that donors should hold out on money unless Texas Tech responded properly.

One student wrote on Twitter that she would transfer if she could: “Any minority at school will tell you the white kids think they’re better.”

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