Ole Miss fraternity chapter suspended amid statue noose case - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ole Miss fraternity chapter suspended amid statue noose case

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OXFORD, MS -
(WMC-TV) - The fraternity SigEp indefinitely suspended its University of Mississippi Chapter after learning three freshmen members were suspects in hanging a noose around the James Meredith statue on campus.

The three men were also expelled from the fraternity.

Despite the group's actions, the district attorney says, so far, the act does not appear to be criminal.

District Attorney Ben Creekmore's district includes Lafayette County.

Creekmore told Action News 5 late Friday morning that investigators and prosecutors have looked into several misdemeanors as possible charges. He said because the statue was not physically damaged, and the suspects did not appear to be trespassing, his office would likely not be in a position to bring criminal charges against the suspects.

He did add that he felt the act was despicable and that federal investigators could opt to bring charges if they saw fit.

SigEp's CEO Brian C. Warren Jr. says the incident is an embarrassment to the fraternity.

"SigEp as a national Fraternity has championed racial equality and issues on diversity since 1959 when it became the first national fraternity to invite members of all races, creeds and religions to join its membership. For this to occur in 2014 is an insult to the legacy of James Meredith, the University of Mississippi community, and the SigEp alumni who fought for racial equality in the late 1950s," he said.

Ole Miss can discipline the students if they are found to be involved through the school's judiciary process.

Students couldn't believe that the three weren't charged with a crime.

"That's kind of saying it's ok. You can do it again as long as you don't write anything on the statue, you're fine. That's not right to me," noted one student.

The investigation is ongoing; if new information comes to light, Creekmore said his office could revisit the issue.

Federal charges are still possible, and dean of students Sparky Reardon said the three could still face trouble from the university.

"Our M Book has a range of sanctions that can be applied that go from not responsible, to probation, to probation with tenure, to suspension to expulsion," said Reardon.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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