Florida International University students really can't seem to stop themselves from being gigantic assholes. From frats to campus conservative groups to, ahem, other campus-conservative groups, New Times keeps catching FIU kids acting like complete garbage. In recent years, FIU President Mark Rosenberg has had to suspend Greek Life on campus, college Republican leaders have had to resign, and other groups have had to explain why they were privately discussing prominent white nationalists in private group texts.
Now that the campus chapter of the far-right Turning Point USA group is under fire for the racist-referencing WhatsApp chats, it's worth considering a full timeline of the pattern of conduct from a few subsets of awful FIU kids over the last few years:
Florida International University announced today it was suspending its Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity over Facebook posts apparently showing rampant drug dealing by frat brothers on campus.
The posts, obtained by Riptide, also show evidence of hazing, cheating on exams, and creep shots of naked women shared among the "Pike" frat brothers.
"Earlier this week, the University was made aware of Facebook postings which appear to be linked to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity Kappa Gamma chapter and members of the fraternity," an FIU spokeswoman said. "The university is taking this information very seriously because it suggests possible Student Code of Conduct violations. The university took prompt action and placed the fraternity on interim suspension pending the outcome of investigations by appropriate university departments, including the police."
If the Harvey Weinstein case has taught America anything about sexual assault and rape culture, it’s that the Hollywood stories are only the tip of the iceberg. Consider the latest uproar at Florida International University, where someone leaked a fraternity's group chat full of nude photos of female students, derisive messages about a deceased FIU sorority member, and jokes about anti-Semitism and rape.
The school has launched a full investigation into the fraternity, Tau Kappa Epislon, after the thread was sent in late September to university administrators and the school’s Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils.
“FIU is aware of the images described in the story and has no tolerance for this type of behavior," says Maydel Santana, a spokeswoman for the school. "We are unable to comment further pending the conclusion of an investigation.”
The thread, which was compiled over the course of a year, was sent by dozens of members of the fraternity at FIU, which has 15 frats and seven sororities on campus. Screenshots shared with New Times show at least 41 frat members (the group has 108) joking about sexual assault and hazing while sharing at least eight explicit photos of female students.
In one series of chats, which were first reported on by FIU journalism student Helen Barreto, the frat members make light of statutory rape and brag about sleeping with underage girls. One member wrote, "[I] wanna feel like a ped," and others call sorority members "sluts."
Earlier this year, a Florida International University student broke news that FIU's Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members were secretly joking about rape and sending stolen nude photos of women to one another in secret group chats. In October, a school spokesperson confirmed the university had launched an investigation into the frat, which was eventually suspended.
In the meantime, Florida State University had become embroiled in its own scandals following an alcohol-related student death. FSU took the extraordinary measure of suspending all Greek life on its campus indefinitely — and now FIU has followed suit, at least temporarily.
"After serious consideration, and keeping the safety of our students top of mind, I have decided to pause all Greek activities on our campuses for at least one month starting January 1, 2018," FIU President Mark Rosenberg said today in a news release.
Rosenberg did not reference the recent issues at TKE in his message and instead simply cited unnamed "safety" and "behavior" issues stemming from campus fraternities. But after repeated nude-photo scandals — FIU's Pi Kappa Alpha frat was suspended in 2013 after joking online about drug-dealing and posting "creep shots" of naked women — it's clear something is very wrong with frat culture at FIU. (And probably just frat culture in general, but that's another story.)
Thursday morning, dozens of Florida International University students walked out of class in protest. They urged the government to protect young immigrants who might be kicked out of the United States by the Trump administration. While they were demonstrating, their classmates in the FIU College Republicans were cracking jokes about trying to get the students deported. The exchange happened in a private group chat provided to New Times.
"Call ICE," one of the young Republicans urged. "So they get ICE'd."
"I was about to [call ICE]," another student wrote. "But I don't have their names."
The screenshots included also mention of buying semiautomatic weapons, grenades, and bump stocks and humorously refer to Charlottesville, where one protestor was killed by a white supremacist. The screencaps, which were shared by a participant in the chats who wishes to remain anonymous, are the latest headache for a campus already reeling from a leaked group chat from the campus' Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which shows the frat members joking about rape and hazing. Those chats have led to the frat's suspension and an investigation.
"The discourse being exchanged in the FIU College is unacceptable," the anonymous tipster says in describing
the motivation for sharing screenshots of the chat. "The dehumanization of our fellow students is repulsive."
At Florida International University, the fallout over a leaked group chat from the school's College Republicans is still spreading. After New Times first reported Friday about the chats — which show the young GOP students joking about deporting classmates and making light of the attack by a white supremacist in Charlottesville — the school announced it was investigating the group.
Now hundreds of students have signed a petition urging FIU President Mark Rosenberg to "take immediate action" against the College Republicans, and the club's vice president has resigned over the "disgusting hate." In fact, the former vice president says he had earlier reported the offensive comments to school authorities, who did nothing to curb the problem.
"I was elected VP and hoped I was able to cause real change and stop the radicalism that is happening," writes Mauricio Pons, who says he's the grandson of Cuban immigrants and was particularly disturbed by the College Republicans' xenophobic tenor. "I'm sad to say that for nine months my efforts were futile and I left the group chat because of its toxicity and hate speech."
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Back in 2017, New Times obtained screenshots of gross chats among Florida International University's Campus Republicans. They joked about the Charlottesville neo-Nazi attack last year and threatened to "call ICE" on fellow, undocumented students who were begging Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
Now, New Times has received disgusting chats from another FIU conservative group, Turning Point USA (TPUSA) — a far-right, college-focused group led by commentator Charlie Kirk. Members joke about watching underage cartoon pornography and deporting Latina women, and, in the most repugnant case, share racist "Pepe the Frog" memes showing Syrian men raping a white Swedish woman at gunpoint.
In one section, a prominent group member apparently had to warn others not to use racial slurs or reference neo-Nazis too often. One group member asked how "edgy" the person's "meme game" can be in the group chat, titled "TPUSA FIU Fun." A prominent group member responded by telling the user to "avoid using the n word and don't reference Richard Spencer too much and don't Jew hate ... all the time." [sic]
Spencer is, of course, an avowed white nationalist who regularly quotes Nazi slogans and advocates the creation of a "white ethno-state."
Representatives for the group did not return messages from New Times yesterday. (A Facebook message was "read.") Nor did the group's regional field director in Florida, Driena Sixto, respond to New Times. She also participated in the chats, the WhatsApp screencaps show.
Turning Point USA was founded in 2012 by square-headed right-wing commentator Charlie Kirk. Kirk has since brought on pundit Candace Owens and has repeatedly held events with Donald Trump Jr. (One was held last week at Nova High School in Davie, but Trump Jr. wound up not attending.) Trump Jr. also wrote the foreword to Kirk's recently released book. (Kirk's text has received uniformly negative reviews — even from other conservatives). But TPUSA is perhaps most famous for the antics of its Kent State University chapter — in 2017, TPUSA activists at the Ohio school wore adult diapers and sucked pacifiers to parody "crybaby" liberals.
Of course, the internet has made fun of the group's members nonstop ever since then for making themselves look like morons.
This past Tuesday, New Times published internal chats showing members of the Florida International University chapter of Turning Point USA joking about white nationalism, "Jew-hating," underage cartoon porn, and Syrian refugees raping white women. But so far, school administrators have done nothing. In fact, amid a national outcry over the leaked, racist chats, TPUSA even set up a table on the FIU campus today to hand out buttons and "Socialism Sucks" posters.
Dozens of FIU professors are now demanding that the school promptly kick the group off the public university's campus, according to a draft letter New Times obtained today.
"We are writing to express our strong opposition to the racist, misogynistic and xenophobic culture that the FIU chapter of Turning Point, USA is spreading on our campus," the faculty letter reads.
Nearly two days after New Times first requested comment on the racist chats, FIU president Mark Rosenberg finally issued a statement this afternoon condemning the offensive statements and promising an internal investigation — but also somehow claimed TPUSA is not a registered club at the school despite the fact that the group is listed in FIU's official "PantherConnect" student portal and, again, was handing out buttons on campus today.