A University of Idaho fraternity apologized for a booklet it published that contained racist and sexist comments, and to make amends the organization announced it had canceled its annual ball.
In a prepared statement Friday, Delta Tau Delta chapter President Leonard Plaster publicly apologized for the booklet, which had explicit sexual references to several women on campus as well as references to "niggers" and "spics."The publication was part of Delta Tau Delta's 60th annual Russian Ball, which had been scheduled Saturday night.
"I can assure you that we are saddened to realize that our poor attempt at humor in an in-house booklet has offended the campus and community," Plaster said in the statement. "We now see very clearly the problem with making these statements, even if they are not public, and they certainly do not reflect our members' attitudes."
University officials were reviewing sexual harassment and discrimination policies to determine whether action can be taken against the fraternity.
"I'm appalled by the content, and I'm amazed by their hypocrisy," said Bruce Pitman, dean of student advisory services.
The fraternity had recently participated in a national campaign condemning sexual harassment, racism and human rights violations. Fraternity members had put up posters throughout the Moscow school proclaiming a college campus is the last place human rights should be violated.
"We do stand behind our public statements regarding racism and the need to eliminate sexual harassment on the college campus," Plaster said. "We now further realize that the education on these issues must start at home."
That would begin with the cancellation of the ball, Plaster said. "Anything less would be insensitive to those individuals whom we have offended," he said.
James Hise, a national chapter consultant for Delta Tau Delta, said Friday the incident was "isolated" and not typical in the fraternity system.
"We look at this as a real opportunity to educate our members," Hise said.