University of Windsor denounces fraternity after hateful messages in private chat group revealed

The University of Windsor is denouncing hateful messages that members of the Delta Chi fraternity allegedly posted in a private chat.

University distances itself from Delta Chi fraternity after hateful chats circulated

University of Windsor President Rob Gordon says that the university will be launching an investigation into the hateful messages. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

The University of Windsor is denouncing hateful online messages allegedly exchanged by members of the Delta Chi fraternity in a private chat group and is also suspending any opportunities for the fraternity to use university spaces.

The private Facebook messages include racist and anti-Black comments and comments promoting violence. The comments allegedly made by members of the frat were exposed by two university anti-racism groups, which sent them to the university demanding action. The university also said it is also launching an investigation.

The outrage from the community did not stop there.

"This is currently happening at the University of Windsor. The Delta Chi Fraternity needs to be held accountable. I am absolutely disgusted," a Twitter user tweeted.

"It's difficult to imagine how fellow Black students at the University of Windsor are expected to focus on exams and school when there is a lack of remedial measures taken to address anti-Blackness exhibited by students on campus," Tweeted another.

The comments allegedly made by members of the frat were exposed by two university anti-racism groups, which sent them to the university demanding action. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC)

CBC has viewed the screen captures shared by the anti-racism groups, ExposeUWindsor and atuwindsor2020, but has not been able to view the original pages. 

In a statement on Thursday, University of Windsor President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rob Gordon called the messages "Disturbing, unacceptable, and entirely incongruent with the values of our school and the work we are doing to create a more inclusive and equitable community at the University of Windsor."

Gordon apologized and said that he takes "responsibility for the progress we need to make to ensure that our campus protects the emotional, physical, and psychological safety of everyone in our community."

The statement said that the university has contacted the fraternity's leadership in the United States and the Windsor Police Service.

The statement comes on the same day that the university's Anti-Black Racism Task Force started its public consultation process.

"That work has already begun but we have much, much more to do before we can move forward as an organization," the statement reads.

CBC News is seeking comment from the local fraternity and its U.S.-based leadership.

The Facebook page for the local chapter appeared to be offline Thursday.

The university statement said that Delta Chi, like all fraternities and sororities at the university, does not have a formal relationship with the University of Windsor or its student union, but sometimes books university spaces 'for meetings or activities." That  opportunity is immediately suspended, said Coleman.

'Disgusted, disappointed'

Josh Lamers, an organizer and activist who is also a second-year law student at the university, expressed dissatisfaction with the university's response.

"The university is trying to do the work of distancing themselves, but these are your students, they're on your campus," he said. 

"I'm disgusted, I'm disappointed. I can't even focus on work because I'm just like, you have the evidence before you, you have had myself and other Black people and racialized people give you demands to guide you. Your task force is already coming apart," he said.

The demands include hiring more Black faculty and creating more opportunities such as scholarships and accommodations for Black students.

In an email, At University of Windsor, one of the student advocacy groups, said what has happened is "all too common" at the school. 

"In the past year with greater attention on police brutality and anti-Black racism in the U.S. and Canada, it's clear that the problem of racism is not over," the emailed statement from the group reads. "Within the same time frame that the Delta Chi Fraternity posted on their Instagram about the police murder of George Floyd, they were calling Black protestors r-words, "criminals" and "idiots" in their chats. This strategy of being an ally publicly while privately harbouring dangerous and racist views is all too common at University of Windsor."

Windsor police could not confirm that it had been contacted by the university.