Fraternity member removed for ‘harmful and racist’ post mocking George Floyd’s death

The UBC chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity has removed one of its members for what it called an “insensitive and inappropriate” social media post about the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

DKE International Headquarters denounced the post as “harmful and racist” in a statement.

“As members of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, we believe in the rights and feelings of others and the need to provide personal dignity to all,” the statement reads. “This former member’s post was antithetical to the mission, vision, and values of our fraternity.”

Trey Robb, DKE International Headquarters director of health & safety initiatives, said that the chapter removed the member on June 15, shortly after the UBC chapter began its investigation on June 12.

Robb confirmed that the image in question was the one posted in a callout tweet from July 24.

The tweet contains a selfie of a person with the caption “Out here looking for a [n-word] to put my knee on his neck.”

The alleged social media post garnered attention after an anonymous confession on the Untold UBC Greek Instagram account on July 24. The account, which first posted on July 22, said it’s an anonymous platform for Greek community members to share their experiences with discrimination.

The tweet alleges that the individual is a UBC computer science student named Amir Sayyar, including a screenshot of what appears to be Sayyar’s LinkedIn profile. Citing BC privacy law, Robb did not confirm the student’s identity.

The LinkedIn profile had been deleted at the time of publishing. An Instagram account bearing Sayyar’s name that users had tagged on the confession post and a DKE UBC Instagram post has also been deleted. Sayyar could not be reached on Facebook.

Beyond the tweet and subsequent social media comments, no organization contacted confirmed the student in question as Sayyar.

In a statement posted on Instagram, DKE UBC acknowledged its “flaws and imperfections,” saying the member had been removed upon investigation. The post did not identify who it was.

“We want to make it clear that this individual’s actions do not reflect the values, perspectives, and qualities that we strive to uphold within the Phi Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon,” the post reads.

Accountability left in the chapter’s hands

Robb said DKE International Headquarters was made aware of the post on Sunday, July 26 after it had been tagged numerous Instagram comments.

He said that the UBC chapter had begun and completed its investigation before headquarters became aware an incident had happened. When asked whether chapters are expected to inform headquarters of similar incidents, Robb said it was “atypical” for headquarters to learn about incidents from social media before notification from the chapter.

“We are supportive of our chapters taking direct accountability action without involving the headquarters,” said Robb. However, he said headquarters could become involved if a chapter fails to take proper action. In this case, he said the UBC chapter appeared to be taking appropriate accountability measures.

Matthew Ramsey, a university spokesperson, said the university was aware of the allegations but could not disclose information about the student due to privacy reasons.

“UBC takes these types of allegations extremely seriously,” he said, encouraging community members to report any discriminatory incidents to the UBC Equity & Inclusion Office.

AMS President Cole Evans declined to comment on the case due to the Interfraternity Council’s (IFC) status as an external organization.

The AMS voted in November to deconstitute the IFC as an AMS club. Negotiations between the two groups are ongoing to develop a memorandum of understanding.

When asked how this incident would affect memorandum negotiations, Evans said that negotiations have been “on hiatus” since before the COVID-19 pandemic began. He said the AMS had contacted the IFC with options for continuing negotiations but hasn’t received a reply.

The IFC did not respond to an email asking for comment. In a Facebook post, the organization condemned the former DKE member’s post.

“[T]he IFC became aware of disturbing information concerning a former member mocking the death of George Floyd at the hands of [Minneapolis Police Department] officers,” reads the post.

“The IFC would like to reiterate that bigotry of any form has no place in Greek Life. We are cognizant of the fact that for every incident that is reported, there are many others that do not.”