Fifteen Syracuse University students who participated in fraternity videos described by the school’s chancellor as racist and anti-Semitic were suspended last week, according to their lawyer, the culmination of a six-week inquiry into the footage, which had ignited campus protests and a sit-in.
Karen G. Felter, whose law office represents the 15 students who received formal disciplinary decisions, said in an email Sunday that some of them were suspended for one year and others for two years.
The students are prohibited from any presence or activity on university property. Readmittance is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of Syracuse, she said.
But that is not what these “strait-laced engineering kids” deserve, said Gregory L. Germain, a law professor at the university who serves as a pro bono adviser to three of the students.
The decision was the result of an “unfair process that was dominated by the university,” he said, that “manipulated the rules to meet the facts.”
On Monday, Dara Royer, a Syracuse University spokeswoman, said in a statement that the university approached the case “fairly and professionally,” and that the fraternity videos had “a significant impact” on the well-being of students, faculty and staff on campus.
“The videos contain language, even if offered under the guise of satire, that is sexist, racist, ableist, anti-Semitic and demeaning to the L.G.T.B.Q. community,” the statement said. “Moreover, speech or conduct can be harassing in nature based on its effect on others, even if that was not the underlying purpose or intent.”