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Phi Delta Theta member removed from Ole Miss fraternity after confrontation during campus protest

By Meron Moges-Gerbi and Dianne Gallagher, CNN

(CNN) — Phi Delta Theta has expelled an individual from its fraternity following a heated exchange between a group of pro-Palestinian protesters and a much larger group of counter-protesters at the University of Mississippi last Thursday.

In a statement shared with CNN on Monday, the fraternity said that while it “recognizes that expression of freedom is part of the collegiate experience,” it is committed to upholding its values.

“Following a review of the incident, it was determined that the individual’s behavior was unacceptable. The action in question was offensive, outside the boundaries of this discourse and contrary to our values,” the brotherhood said.

“In collaboration with local alumni, student leaders and the university, a disciplinary process was initiated which resulted in the removal of membership.”

The individual has not been identified.

Multiple video clips captured the scene at the University of Mississippi last Thursday when an estimated 200 counterprotesters, some holding American and Trump flags, surrounded a group of about 30 pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

One clip shows a group of mostly white, young male counter-protesters yelling at a black woman as she walks toward them while holding her phone. Someone is seen making apparent monkey gestures in the incident.

It is unclear if the person is the person whose membership Phi Delta Theta revoked.

Jaylin R. Smith, 24, confirmed to CNN that she was the woman seen in the video.

“One thing that will never break me is people taunting me or making monkey noises at me,” the journalism graduate and new media student told CNN on Friday.

CNN has not been able to identify any of the counter-protesters in the video.

Republican Congressman Mike Collins of Georgia drew criticism after he shared a video of the viral encounter on X last week with the caption, “Ole Miss takes care of business.”

In response to the report, the NAACP sent a letter to congressional leaders on Saturday requesting an investigation into the lawmaker’s conduct.

“These actions taken by a member of the House of Representatives, regardless of intentions, legitimize and promote racism and undermine the principles of equality and justice that our government is sworn to uphold,” said the letter, shared exclusively with CNN.

In a rack On Monday, Collins said he will not tolerate discrimination.

“I understand and respect the feedback shared about one individual during the Ole Miss protests. If that person is found to have treated another human being inappropriately because of their race, they should be punished appropriately and hopefully ask for forgiveness,” Collins said.

“Frankly, I don’t believe this was the focal point of the video shared at the time, but I recognize that there certainly appears to be potentially inappropriate behavior that none of us should seek to glorify.”

The University of Mississippi opened an investigation into student conduct following the incident, which Chancellor Glenn F. Boyce said “included actions that conveyed hostility and racist overtones.”

The fraternity said it will continue to monitor the situation and cooperate with further investigations.

A wave of pro-Palestinian campus protests swept through colleges and universities across the US, leading to more than 2,000 arrests since April 18. Many demonstrations have called for colleges to divest companies that support Israel and the war in Gaza, CNN previously reported.

CNN’s Kara Nelson and Alta Spells contributed to this report.

The CNN Wire
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