University officials and FarmHouse have agreed that members undergo diversity training, according to a university statement issued on Wednesday, after receiving public backlash from a video taken on Halloween night.
“Troy University, in conjunction with FarmHouse International, has completed a review of the circumstances behind the video recorded Oct. 31 at the FarmHouse fraternity house,” read the press statement.
“As a result of this investigation, Troy University’s FarmHouse chapter has agreed to complete education and training on the importance of unity, respect and diversity on the campus. This will be complemented by acts of service to the University and its students designed to rebuild trust.
“Troy University does not condone the actions and images depicted in the video, which are contrary to the University’s mission as Alabama’s International University. Troy University’s student population is one of the most diverse and international in the state of Alabama, and TROY is committed to the cultivation of a positive, inclusive environment.”
In the video, recorded on Snapchat at a party on Oct. 31, FarmHouse chapter President Andrew Dearing is wearing a mask with the face of President Donald Trump and a “Make America Great Again” hat.
In the video, he instructs two other FarmHouse members, dressed as border patrolmen, to catch Khalil Monroe, who is dressed as a Mexican immigrant.
Dearing and other FarmHouse members have not been available for comment this week.
The verdict came down on Wednesday, Nov. 8, almost a week after student protests and a town hall meeting on Friday that was attended by over 200 people.
At the football game on Thursday, Nov. 2, students participating in a protest held up signs that read “L’union fait la force,” which means “Unity is strength.” Students wore all black and locked arms to show solidarity with one another.
On Friday, students and faculty attended the town hall meeting in the Trojan Center ballrooms, hosted by the Student Government Association and Troy’s chapter of the NAACP.
During the forum-style meeting, Joe McCall, a lecturer of history, faculty adviser to the International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO) and former faculty adviser of Troy’s NAACP, presented the quote “The boys torture the frog in jest, but the frog suffers earnest” to describe the behavior of the four FarmHouse members who participated in the video skit.
“This kind of humor doesn’t cut it,” McCall said.
Other students and leaders on campus were provided the opportunity to discuss the video, its impact on them personally and Troy’s international student population.
Ashli Morris, a senior political science major from Athens and SGA president, said that students’ voices were heard during the forum, and she is in contact with the administration and the NAACP to work on “good next steps.”
FarmHouse International Fraternity released an updated statement yesterday regarding the outcome of the investigation:
“The four individuals who wore offensive costumes and participated in a culturally insensitive skit have accepted responsibility for their actions, are appropriately remorseful and are ready to use their poor judgment as a learning moment for their chapter and community.
“The chapter also recognizes the actions of a few have portrayed the organization in a poor light, and have agreed upon a plan with the University and International Fraternity to help provide education to members, as well as continued steps to be a part of a conversation in the community which promotes respect, dignity and unity.”
Nathaniel Rodriguez, a senior Spanish and broadcast journalism major from Comerio, Puerto Rico, who gave an emotional testimony at the town hall meeting, said on Facebook, “I think this is an appropriate response within the constraints the university has on what it can actually do.”
William Jackson, a senior political science major from Valley, posted a petition calling for FarmHouse President Andrew Dearing’s expulsion and formal punishment for Troy’s FarmHouse fraternity on change.org. In the petition, which has garnered 150 signatures, Jackson said, “The most dangerous companion of ignorance is power,” and states that Dearing “represents this doctrine of intolerance.”
Jackson also submitted a letter to the editor with the full text of his petition to the Tropolitan, which can be found on Page 8.
The Brothers of FarmHouse for Troy’s chapter released a statement last week about the video:
“We sincerely apologize for the actions that occurred during an event at the fraternity house on Oct. 31. These actions fall well short of the standards we expect of our members, and the individuals responsible will face appropriate disciplinary action.
“We deeply regret the hurt caused to members of our Troy community, and we are working closely with University officials to ensure something like this does not happen again.
“We will learn from this and take steps to regain the trust of the University and community.”