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Phi Delta Theta member removed from Ole Miss fraternity after confrontation during campus protest

The entrance sign and logo to the campus of the University of Mississippi. (Photo: Wolterk/iStock Editorial/Getty Images/File via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — Phi Delta Theta has removed an individual from its fraternity following a heated exchange between a group of pro-Palestinian protesters and a much larger group of counter-protesters at the University of Mississippi last Thursday.

In a statement shared with CNN Monday, the fraternity said while it “recognizes that freedom expression is part of the collegiate experience,” it is committed to upholding its values.

“After reviewing the incident, it was determined that the individual’s behavior was unacceptable. The action in question was offensive, outside the bounds of this discourse, and contradictory to our values,” the fraternity said.

“In partnership with local alumni, undergraduate leadership, and the university, disciplinary due process was initiated which resulted in the removal of membership.”

The individual has not been identified.

Multiple video clips captured the scene at the University of Mississippi last Thursday as an estimated 200 counter protesters, some of whom were holding American flags and Trump flags, surrounded a group of about 30 pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

One clip shows a group of mostly White young male counter protesters yelling at a Black woman as she walked toward them while holding her phone. One is seen making what appeared to be monkey gestures at the incident.

It is unclear whether the person is the individual whose membership Phi Delta Theta revoked.

Jaylin R. Smith, 24, confirmed to CNN she was the woman seen in the video.

“One thing that will never break me is people taunting me or making monkey noises at me,” the journalism and new media graduate student told CNN on Friday.

CNN has been unable to identify any of the counter protesters in the video.

Georgia Republican congressman Mike Collins faced criticism after he shared video of the viral encounter last week on X with the caption, “Ole Miss taking care of business.”

In response to the post, the NAACP set a letter to congressional leadership Saturday requesting an investigation into the lawmaker’s conduct.

“These actions conducted by a member of the House of Representatives, regardless of intent, legitimize and propagate racism and undermine the principles of equality and justice that our government is sworn to uphold,” the letter, shared exclusively with CNN, said.

In a statement on Monday, Collins said he does not tolerate discrimination.

“I understand and respect the feedback that’s been shared regarding a single individual during the Ole Miss protests. If that person is found to have treated another human being improperly because of their race, they should be punished appropriately, and will hopefully seek forgiveness,” Collins said.

“Frankly, I did not believe that to be the focal point of the video shared at the time, but I recognize that there certainly seems to be some potentially inappropriate behavior that none of us should seek to glorify.”

The University of Mississippi opened a student conduct investigation in response to the incident, which Chancellor Glenn F. Boyce described as including “actions that conveyed hostility and racist overtone.”

The fraternity said it will continue to monitor the situation and cooperate with any further investigation.

A wave of pro-Palestinian campus protests swept across colleges and universities in the US, leading to more than 2,000 arrests since April 18. Many demonstrations have called for colleges to divest from companies that support Israel and the war in Gaza, CNN previously reported.

CNN’s Kara Nelson and Alta Spells contributed to this report.

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