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Ole Miss Expels, Suspends Students Involved In Racial Prank

October 7, 1989 GMT

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) _ One University of Mississippi student was expelled and four others suspended Friday for their involvement in a fraternity prank that turned into an embarrassing racial incident for the school.

″We regret that this action had to be taken, but it should be clear that the University of Mississippi can not tolerate this kind of behavior,″ said Ole Miss Chancellor Gerald Turner, who accepted the recommendation of a disciplinary committee that had held hearings for each of the students.

On Sept. 18, a Beta Theta Pi member and a pledge were stripped, blindfolded and driven from Ole Miss to Rust College, a small, private, mostly black school about 25 miles to the north in Holly Springs.

Rust security officers picked up the Ole Miss students, whose hands and feet had been bound with duct tape and their naked bodies painted with ″KKK″ and ″we hate niggers.″ The students were all white.

Those involved were not identified, nor did the university specify their roles in the incident.

Turner expelled one fraternity member, suspended four and placed nine others on probation. Charges aganst one student were dropped.

Last Wednesday, the chancellor banned Beta Theta Pi from the school for three years and ordered the fraternity to close its house on fraternity row by Oct. 29.

Beta Theta Pi members have said the incident was a traditional fraternity prank that got out of hand. Fraternity members said pledges usually ″kidnapped″ an active member and left him stranded in a remote area, but never had the prank been taken so far.

Turner said last week that the incident had opened an old wound at Ole Miss, the scene of violence in 1962 when James Meredith enrolled as the first black student.

″We are committed to developing an environment on campus that is supportive of the goals and aspirations of all members of the university community,″ the chancellor said Friday. ″We must now reinvigorate our efforts in this direction.″