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Naked White Fraternity Members Dumped at Black College Campus

September 20, 1989 GMT

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) _ Members of a University of Mississippi fraternity painted racial slurs on the naked bodies of two white pledges and dumped them on the campus of a mostly black college nearby.

″They had no idea that there were racial connotations in it. They should have, but they appeared not to have viewed it that way,″ Ole Miss public relations director Ed Meek said Wednesday.

″When I was informed of it I was shocked and angered,″ university Chancellor Gerald Turner said Tuesday night. He said he had apologized to Rust College and had instructed the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which was involved in the Monday night incident, to do the same.

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Ishmell Edwards, dean of students at Rust, 25 miles north in Holly Springs, said the fraternity chapter’s officers apologized in person and in writing to college officials.

Witnesses said the two naked fraternity members, with ″KKK″ and ″we hate niggers″ painted on their chests, ran into the Rust College security office to escape pursuing Rust College students.

″We’re treating this as a very serious violation of good taste and ethics on our campus and we’re doing a thorough investigation,″ Meek said.

He said a closed disciplinary hearing ″for perhaps individuals as well as the fraternity″ has been scheduled for Friday. Ole Miss officials probably won’t announce results until Monday or Tuesday.

″My impression is it was a small group of students, all of whom where freshmen,″ Meek said of those involved in the prank, adding that ″it was not students who were familiar with campus rules″ or who were ″more mature.″

Fraternity Treasurer Brad Gunner, a senior from Tupelo, said national leaders of Beta Theta Pi had suspended the Ole Miss chapter’s charter and were coming to Oxford to investigate.

″Personally, I believe there’s going to be a lot of cleaning house in that there will be a totally different chapter in about two weeks if a chapter at all,″ said Gunner, who is also president of the campus Interfraternity Council.