Three students from the University of Mississippi were suspended from their fraternity after a photo of them posing with guns in front of an Emmett Till memorial sign went viral.
In a statement to ABC News, fraternity spokesperson Jesse Lyons confirmed the suspension.
Lyons condemned their behavior and claimed that this conduct is not reflective of Kappa Alpha Order.
“The making of the photo was unrelated to any event or activity of our chapter,” Lyon said. “The photo is inappropriate, insensitive, and unacceptable. It does not represent our chapter. We have and will continue to be in communication with our national organization and the University.”
One of the students posted the picture to their Instagram account in March, according to ABC News. The sign been habitually vandalized the past; as a result, the post was reported to Ole Miss’ Bias Incident Response Team before being turned over to the University police and eventually the FBI. Although the students have been reprimanded by their organization, it’s unlikely that they will be punished by Ole Miss.
“While the image is offensive, it did not present a violation of university code of conduct,” Ole Miss’ spokesperson Rod Guajardo said in a statement to ABC News. “It occurred off campus and was not part of a university-affiliated event.”
Gurajardo also stated that the FBI “reported back to UPD that it declined to investigate further because the photo did not pose a specific threat.”
For whatever reason, most of the publications covering this story fail to identify the students by name. Since they’re grown and their actions deserve to never to unchecked, the two have been identified are are Benjamin Joseph LeClere (who posted the photo) and John Lowe. The identity of the person who took the photo remains unknown, as does that of the person who took the photo.