UC Davis Phi Delta Theta Members Removed from Fraternity After Uploading Controversial YouTube Videos

Photo Credit To Farrell Scott
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By Lauren Smith, Linh Nguyen and Julietta Bisharyan

DAVIS – Two brothers of UC Davis’s Phi Delta Theta were removed from their fraternity after they uploaded YouTube videos containing controversial and racist statements last week.

Kent Cassidy, a fourth year computer science major, and Sammy Mendoza, a fifth year economics and political science major, uploaded two YouTube videos, under the channel “2020 Vision,” in which they discuss random topics.

Some of the topics of particular interest include Chinese international students at American universities, abortion, the Black Lives Matter movement and politics in sports. In many instances throughout the videos, the two use derogatory slurs, including slurs used against Black people and people with mental disabilities.

In their first video titled “California Here We Go,” Cassidy and Mendoza begin by discussing international students. They claim that “the Chinese” are the “number one customer(s) of American education” and that they should speak English because “they’re coming to American Universities that are taught in English.”

Throughout this discussion, Mendoza perpetuates the “us versus them” mentality stating, “I don’t have anything against them, I never really conversed with one, to tell you the truth.”

 Not only do Cassidy and Mendoza make racist statements against the international community in Davis, but Cassidy also makes racist statements about the Black community. He claims that abortions are “to prevent Black ladies from having kids” and that “there’s a lot of sketchiness [and] money involved.”

 Cassidy also says the “n-word” but plays it off as if he is speaking in a Chinese language or Japanese, while Mendoza laughs saying, “We just got demonetized.”

 Not long after beginning their video, Cassidy starts to contemplate how the fraternity both he and Mendoza belong to will respond to their “controversial” topics. He says, “I guess we should discuss this with the rest of them before we associate ourselves.” 

 Mendoza adamantly disagrees, boldly stating, “No. I’m a brother. I am a member of Phi Delta Theta at the University of California, Davis… I don’t need to ask them for permission. They should be gracious. They should be happy I’m affiliated with them for one.”

 Near the end of the video, Cassidy makes a comment saying, “Shit’s been fun and also retarded. Excuse me, mentally disabled.”

Mendoza mocks his comment laughing, “If we offend anybody, sorry.”

 In the second video titled “Gratitude,” Cassidy and Mendoza respond to the backlash they received from the first video. Though they accept the backlash, Cassidy and Mendoza explicitly state that they are not apologizing for their remarks.

“We decided that we are not going to apologize,” Mendoza says. “There’s nothing to apologize about.”

Cassidy says that there is nothing wrong with what they posted.

Mendoza then backtracks on his statements claiming that he is a member of Phi Delta Theta, stating, “We are not affiliated with any organization.”

“Can you believe we had one episode, and we’re already being threatened to be canceled?” Cassidy adds.

At one point during the video, Mendoza says, “I will not be silenced. I will continue to speak my mind no matter what, and no one is going to stop me. I do not care if your feelings are hurt, but I will tell you what you need to know.”

He later goes on to say that nothing he ever says would be to “degrade someone else.”

Mendoza also mentions that if the university tries to take action against them, they will go directly to Fox News for trying to have them silenced. 

In a now deleted video, Cassidy and Mendoza meet with their fraternity to discuss the comments made in their first two videos.

 The description of this video states, “Basically the full audio of our interaction without personal or sensitive details. Unlike Phi Delt, we stand for the freedom to express opinion, AND we don’t lie about matters of this nature. We explicitly stated multiple times beforehand that we were going to record the conversation without receiving any objections.

 “All information discussed is regarding our own work and does not reveal any personally identifiable information of the other party. The audio was recorded for our membership review, and we reserve the right to protect ourselves from lies and mischaracterization that slander our characters as individuals.”

 In this video, two fraternity members state that in the two FaceTime calls with Mendoza and Cassidy, they ask them to take their video down. They claim that in these FaceTime calls, Mendoza used the “n word” and refused to delete the video.

 Throughout the meeting, Mendoza becomes increasingly irate, speaking over Cassidy and other fraternity members, even claiming that the fraternity is violating his first amendment right to freedom of speech.

 Mendoza also says, “I can’t be racist; I’m a minority.”

 Members of the fraternity told Cassidy and Mendoza that if they had not affiliated themselves with their fraternity, it is likely this meeting would not have occurred.

 The fraternity decided that due to the racist comments and Cassidy’s and Mendoza’s refusal to delete the video, they would put their membership to a vote.

Cassidy was removed from Phi Delta Theta in a 22-4 vote, and Mendoza was voted off 24-2.

Following their removal from the fraternity, Phi Delta Theta posted a statement on Instagram regarding the controversial comments made.

“It has come to our attention that two of our now former members have made controversial statements on the internet over this past week. While we respect the right of every person’s first amendment, we also reserve the right to disassociate ourselves with members that do not align with our standards,” the statement reads. 

“We will not condone discrimination of any kind, especially from one of our members. The two in question have been removed from the fraternity and will no longer be affiliated with us. As a fraternity, we will continue to stand against ignorance of any kind and uphold our values. We apologize to those who may have been hurt or offended by this.”

This is not the first incident of racism in Greek life at UC Davis. In 2015, the UC Davis chapters of the Sigma Chi fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority were asked to apologize for holding a culturally insensitive “Phiesta” party.

Furthermore, there have been allegations of racism and discrimination during rushing process into various fraternities and sororities at UC Davis. For example, the admittance of a “legacy” member into a Greek life chapter could add to the lack of diversity within the Greek community. Racial college demographics, let alone Greek life, were predominantly white, meaning the admittance of a white legacy member takes a spot away from a non-white individual. 

There are also unspoken instances of similar controversy that lurk in Greek life, meaning Cassidy and Mendoza’s case is not an isolated incident.


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54 thoughts on “UC Davis Phi Delta Theta Members Removed from Fraternity After Uploading Controversial YouTube Videos”

  1. Alan Miller

     Mendoza also says, “I can’t be racist; I’m a minority.”

     

    Cassidy was removed from Phi Delta Theta in a 22-4 vote, and Mendoza was voted off 24-2.

    Clearly structural racism within the fraternity.  More members voted against the non-white guy than the white guy.

  2. Ron Oertel

    How weird.

    A world that I’m not familiar with (other than my education from watching “Animal House”).

    These organizations seem like a throwback in time.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Oh, and from watching “Revenge of the Nerds”.

      Not sure what (if anything) that says about me.

      But seriously, I suspect that fraternities and sororities (in general) would be an interesting topic to explore.

  3. Ron Glick

    “More members voted against the non-white guy than the white guy.”

    Could be because he seemed to be more belligerent.

     “Sammy Mendoza, a fifth year economics and political science major”

    I guess he hadn’t learned that the first amendment only applies to governments. You would think that a UCD 5th year poly sci major would know that.

  4. Alan Miller

    Could be because he seemed to be more belligerent.

    Oh, you mean there may be reasons bad things happen to individuals, besides race?

    Thanks for perfectly illustrating my point, RG!

    1. Alan Miller

      AND . . . it’s delicious that a person of color was discharged for racism, because I’ve had progressive friends swear to me that minorities cannot be racist, only the white oppressive class can be racist.  By that latter thinking, perhaps the fraternity too needs to be cancelled, for taking action against a person of color for alleged racism.  Such a tangled web we (they) weave.

      1. David Greenwald

        From Robin Diangelo: “While everyone of every race holds prejudice and can discriminate against someone of another race, in the US and other white/ settler nations, only white people are in the position to oppress people of color collectively and throughout the whole of society.”

        1. Alan Miller

          To quote one of my political heroes, Matt Taibbi:

          DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horsesh*t as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category.

          Taibbi concludes that White Fragility “may be the dumbest book ever written“.

          He goes to call ‘anti-racism’ [a]  “dingbat racialist cult, which has no art, music, literature, and certainly no comedy, [and] is the vision of “progress” institutional America has chosen to endorse in the Trump era.

          [P.S.  Lest anyone be confused, Matt Taibbi is no conservative]

          1. David Greenwald

            I like Taibbi – his book on Eric Garner is outstanding and you should read – but I don’t agree with him here. DiAngelo’s definition there is hardly unique, it was just most accessible at the moment. The issue here is that individual levels of discrimination and prejudice are not acceptable but they are different from systemic racism. And that’s where this confusion is coming from – the difference between individual prejudice and systemic racism.

        2. Ron Oertel

          From Robin Diangelo: “While everyone of every race holds prejudice and can discriminate against someone of another race, in the US and other white/ settler nations, only white people are in the position to oppress people of color collectively and throughout the whole of society.”

          Assuming that’s true (and I don’t think it necessarily is), does that mean that no one is (personally) a “racist”?  They are only “prejudiced”, which turns into racism – collectively?

          How does Mexico (the conquistadors, etc.) fit into this picture?  (Just saw an article that they found the remains a slave ship that was used to transport Mayans to Cuba.) Can they be “racist” toward that native population? (Systematically, or otherwise?)

          And again, is that on a personal (human) level, or a faceless “systemic” level?

          https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/mexico-identifies-submerged-wreck-of-mayan-slave-ship/ar-BB194EXZ

           

           

        3. Ron Oertel

          And taking this a little further, can Asians (since they are pretty much “on par” with “whites”) be racist?  Same question might apply regarding other groups, as they increasingly assimilate into society.

          And in a place where African-Americans “dominate” (e.g., particular neighborhoods, schools, etc.), can they be “racist”? Or, do they only have sufficient “power” to be “prejudiced” – according to the theory put forth on here?

        4. David Greenwald

          Ron: The general belief is that everyone (except Bill Marshall) can be racist on an individual level.  Understanding the difference between individual and systemic racism would be Helpful here however.

  5. Alan Miller

    two of our now former members have made controversial statements on the internet over this past week. While we respect the right of every person’s first amendment, we also reserve the right to disassociate ourselves with members that do not align with our standards,

    I hope those standards largely include judgement.  As in their the former members inability to remotely understand what any of this is about.  As I started this article, I thought it was going to be a witch hunt on conservative members.  And although some of the context is missing, these guys clearly don’t have a clue, and it sounds like were spoon fed trivial racist hogwash in their upbringings and can’t see how wrong their statements are.  I’m not saying this isn’t common – it’s all too common, most maroons have at least the sense of self-preservation to hide it.

    I am neither right nor left, conservative nor liberal, Democrat nor Republican.  I find value in both conservative and liberal values.  I am against the system – not of democracy, but of binary parties and majority voting.  Our system is self-F*cked by design.  Strangling both those in power and those with no power.

    To place this in larger context — who are the most dangerous people?  Some would say those on the right who are racist; others would say those on the left who commit acts of violence in the name of righteousness – or under cover of righteousness.  I would argue they are not the most dangerous people.  And most of the violent and racists, and violent racists, are beyond reform anyhow.

    Racists and the violent are much smaller in numbers than the most dangerous of all — the enablers.  The conservatives who don’t speak up against the racists in their midst, or worse, tacitly accept them.  The liberals/progressives who don’t speak up against the violence and the violent, or worse, tacitly accept them.  Until the enablers wake the f*ck up and understand they are the problem, we are scroomed.

    Now the enablers will argue with me.  Go argue with a mirror.

    [Well written article, BTW]

  6. Bill Marshall

    There is an interesting “back-story” to Phi Delta Theta… Google it, and see who some of their members were…

    It would not surprise me if the National organization got wind of it, and informed the chapter that if the Chapter didn’t ‘handle’ the situation, the Chapter could be “disenfranchised” by National.  Or, the Chapter might have feared that, and/or they voted their consciences.

    1. Alan Miller

      Not sure what you are getting at as to members . . . most frats have famous people they can point to.

      Frats being de-chaptered by national or UCD is nothing new at Davis.  There have been egregious incidents over the years.  I was in one for a year, and it was one of the worst chapters of my college experience, and yes, I’m quite ashamed to admit I ever did that.  D*mn thing was riddled was alcoholism, drugs, bullying and death.  If there was any philanthropy, I never saw it.  D*mn thing was established and self-destructed over about three years.  One word:  cocaine.

        1. Alan Miller

          Are you talking about today or recently?  I’m referring to 35 years ago, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s much the same.  The national group wasn’t much impressive either, they promoted misogynist stories and probably enabled the insanity so they could enjoy their travel budget.   Though I’m sure there are more grounded frats, the one I was in was particularly horrific, but there were stories from other frats we associated with that were just as destructive, and there were a few deaths at that time, most alcohol related.

  7. Ron Oertel

    I’m surprised that anyone would have the patience to sit through the hour-plus video link, provided above.  Honestly, who cares what they have to say on a YouTube video?

      1. Ron Oertel

        What “hate”?

        I started watching the (1 hour, 20 minute video?) and got bored watching it almost immediately.

        Two college guys talking about random stuff.

        Did you watch the entire thing?

        Doesn’t seem particularly relevant to my life, at least. Not sure who their intended audience is, or the reason that they posted it.

        Now, the bigger picture might be interesting (e.g., what goes on in fraternities, sororities, etc.). And, who is attracted to them in the first place, what they offer, etc.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I’ll “expect a report in the morning”, though it looks like the pertinent concerns were already covered.  😉

          This is probably a lesson for anyone posting on the Vanguard, as well. From what I’ve heard, there’s people out there “counting” the number of comments each person makes, for one thing. (That is, if they don’t like what you have to say, at least.) 😉

  8. Robb Davis

    I apologize in advance if this comment is off topic but since the question of “who can be racist” came up, I would like to encourage people to consider the ideas being put forth currently by Ibram X. Kendi.  He is an African American historian who has written an excellent book entitled “Stamped from the Beginning” which talks about racism and anti-racism throughout US history.  Filled with examples, it provides a very clear understanding of the issues. He divides responses to racial issues as either, segregationist, assimilationist, or anti-racists. What the book reveals is that anyone can be racist in their actions and by what they support or do not support.

    He delves into this much more in “How to be an Anti-Racist.”  To Kendi, there is racism or anti-racism, and nothing that is simply “not racist.”  Agree with him or not, his arguments are compelling and help the conversation I believe.

  9. Alan Miller

    I had a conversation with a black American who grew up in a country in Africa.  They stated that among and within the black people in that country, there was rampant racism.  To him, the idea that only whites were racist was ludicrous.

    I’m not saying I don’t get it that overall, white people overall have way more money and way more power – that’s patently obvious, as is how it got that way.  However, without a parallel structure of individual focus, a solely-racially-grouped paradigm will be ultimately destructive.

  10. Alan Miller

    @Kent Cassidy

    I just realized you are one of the people that got kicked out of the fraternity.  You got b@lls coming on here, and I mean that as a compliment.  I don’t know of many instances where a person who got the short end of the stick came into the comments in an article about them, and now I understand why you posted the video link in comments.

    Since I talked sh*t about you in the comments, based on the article and the frat’s comments, I will commit to watching the video in its entirety, and I will give my opinion after watching.  I note one of you is wearing a MAGA hat, which also takes b@lls.  On a coastal campus, you might as well wear a swastika t-shirt to temple.  I’m no fan of Trump personally, but I’m less a fan as for example the woman who knocked a MAGA hat off an old Jewish guy’s head in a Starbucks in Palo Alto and (juicy ironically) called him a Nazi.

    So yes, I’ll take you up on the challenge and judge for myself, because I know these things can be taken out of context and I know the demonization S that conservatives put up with at UC Davis – as they did 35 years ago, but even more so in the Trump era.

    [Note: Since the vids are rather long – it may be awhile before I get to them – but I will watch]

    1. Ron Oertel

      I just realized you are one of the people that got kicked out of the fraternity. 

      Is that right?  Shows you how much attention I paid to that video (and article).

      But you’re right – it’s in the article itself! (Duh!) Or, as Homer might say – “dooh”.

      Well, now we actually will “expect” a report from you. 😉

        1. Ron Oertel

          Actually, I thought it was important for Kent’s sake.  Otherwise, my earlier comments might have been somewhat different (or perhaps not made at all). He did apparently see them.

          I had actually read the article when it was first posted, but wasn’t paying attention to names, when commenting later. Sounds like Alan might not have, as well.

          By the way, did you watch the video?  If so, what do you think of it (and the fraternity’s reaction)?

          Many comments on your blog have little direct relationship to the articles, per se. Sometimes, they don’t even address the “topic”. And when you write them, they’re often repetitive (and don’t warrant much more than a “skimming” through them).

          1. David Greenwald

            “Many comments on (the Vanguard) have little direct relationship to the articles, per se. ”

            And I don’t think that’s a good thing.

        2. Ron Oertel

          That’s true.

          But, the fact that Kent posted a link to the video in question may be relevant (for a different reason than I first assumed).

          In other words, is this political correctness run amok?  Or, are the concerns of the fraternity legitimate?  (That’s how I now view the question.)

          Since I’m still not willing to sit through that entire video, I’m not planning to weigh in on that.

          1. David Greenwald

            I like some of you watched a few minutes of the video. One of the authors of this told me she watched it on double speed. I would probably not have kicked them out, though I don’t think they conducted themselves in a manner that reflected well upon themselves and their fraternity. I tend to lean more towards free speech rights even if it’s obnoxious.

        3. Ron Oertel

          I do, as well.

          To some degree, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business – as long as they’re abiding by house rules, getting along with other people, etc.

           

        4. Alan Miller

          I would probably not have kicked them out, though I don’t think they conducted themselves in a manner that reflected well upon themselves and their fraternity. I tend to lean more towards free speech rights even if it’s obnoxious.

          Agree on the free speech, as such, very much.  I also think the frat is a private organization that has the right to kick them out.  Free speech doesn’t apply to getting kicked out of an organization for what you see, it’s just about your right to say it.

          For me, it’s more about the article labeling what they said as racist:

          Not only do Cassidy and Mendoza make racist statements against the international community in Davis, but Cassidy also makes racist statements about the Black community.

          Compared to many articles in national media, this article was fairly light on such judgements and pretty even-handed and well-written, but I don’t want media telling me what is and what isn’t – just tell me the facts, both sides, and let me decide.

          But, since I wanted to see the videos the comments were made on, I got my ‘wish’, and I’m gonna commit to sit through 3 hours of two college guys discussing whatever comes to mind.  Someday.  Because KC came on here – I’ll do it.

          By the way, KC, why was the third video taken down by you, from your point of view?

      1. Kent Cassidy

        By the way, KC, why was the third video taken down by you, from your point of view?

        Sammy and I received a cease and desist order from PDT. We plan on eventually re uploading but would prefer to find some form of legal counsel beforehand.

        1. Alan Miller

          Wow.  Sounds like one of the brothers went to UCD School of Law and did a freebee for the chapter by writing a ‘scary letter’.

          BTW, you already know the secret handshake, so you can still get free lodging at chapters throughout the country.

        2. Kent Cassidy

          Sounds like one of the brothers went to UCD School of Law and did a freebee for the chapter by writing a ‘scary letter’.

          Well that would be quite laughable. This one was from the big boys of the organization, I suppose also making it a bit laughable.

          BTW, you already know the secret handshake, so you can still get free lodging at chapters throughout the country.

          Good idea!

  11. Bill Marshall

    these guys clearly don’t have a clue

    True story… seconds into it, using the US flag as a backdrop, obvious that they have no clue as to how it is properly displayed…  180 degrees off…

    Hint for ‘non-flag respect folk’… the blue field is only properly displayed in the upper left, from viewers perspective… true when it is shown on a fixed object, whether vertically or horizontally… technically, the backdrop they used was disrespectful.

    1. Kent Cassidy

      Yes! The orientation of the flag was incorrect and that is the one thing I will apologize for. I hadn’t even realized until we finished filming the latest one but we will fix it. However, believe me when I say I love my country.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Kent, how do you feel about this article and getting booted from the fraternity?  Is there anything you want to say in your defense? Is there more to the story as there often is?

        However, believe me when I say I love my country.

        Thank you for that.

        1. Alan Miller

          I’m also sensing an agreement on frats not being the healthiest environments for college students:

          KC:

          Alan would be correct in describing the lifestyle that is being constantly promoted behind within the walls.

          Maybe an article on ‘behind the scenes’ of a fraternity in 2020 would be fascinating.  Mine is long gone (thankfully) or I’d use the “secret handshake” to go talk to them.  I’m sure they (the non-existent current members of a long-dead chapter) would be glad to tell it like it is and have it all exposed in the media.

        2. Kent Cassidy

          I was in understanding of the frat’s initial worry with public perception. The internet is not always nice, and living in California, it’s expected for my non-pc words to be taken out of context. That being said, I did not expect this to snowball into such a big issue. I am disappointed that instead of sticking as a group and facing the storm, the frat decided to cut us off in fear of also receiving criticism. They went against all the values of brotherhood and loyalty that they were proud of showing off. I felt betrayed by who I thought were some of my good friends. I will not lose contact with the ones I truly gained a connection with, so I’m really not losing all too much. I don’t have to pay dues either. The turnout of the vote was still expected as the process was rushed – I was able to make a few points but it was clear to me that the ones at the top had made the decision, while others were likely just starting to process the information. In the end, I have no issue with being booted. If that’s what they feel, nothing can change it and I don’t care to try.

          My issue is with this article, which seemed to have taken cues from PDT’s instagram post rather than from the source video (which wasn’t even posted).

        3. Alan Miller

          KC,

          You’ll land on your feet.  Parting ways with my frat was partially traumatic, and the wisest decision I made in college.

          Worst part was a year later going to a party with member who stayed, and getting kicked out of the party by the “brothers” for “betraying” the frat.  I did get my dollar back on the way out the door, and then the brother mob came outside and yelled at us as and kicked the car as we drove away, while the guy who started the rally to kick me out of the party, and who had ingested alcohol-marijuana-cocaine and mushrooms, was now trying to get them to lay off, because Alan Miller was actually a “cool guy”.  Don’t combine four drugs at once, kids.

  12. Bill Marshall

    Kent…

    As to some things in life, I “got a clue” when I was in early teens (like flag protocol)… others, later… and I like to think/believe I will hopefully get more clues later… the key is to be open to them… accept or reject as your ‘informed gut’ sees fit… trust me, that will be your biggest challenge in life…

    You guys ‘messed up’ in my view, not by what you said (like Alan, I’ll attempt to drill down to see for myself), or that you posted it (even tho’ I heavily disagree with some of what I did see/hear), but you dragged the Chapter into it, without a ‘check-in’… had I screwed up like that, I would not have waited to be ‘sent off the island’, I’d have ‘resigned’…

    You got a cheap lesson here… but perhaps when you graduate, and seek a job/career, the reality is that this may follow you both… right or wrong, it just “is”… and you’ll have to “own it”…

    If you’re looking for reinstatement with PDT (accidental pun) with an apology, my guess is “that ain’t a happening thing”, or, “that ship has sailed”… pick your metaphor.

    I do suggest, honestly, and meant as constructively, learn and take to heart, the concept of “time, place, and manner”… you violated one, for sure…

    I wish you well in your college education, and in your life.  We all mess up… the key is do we learn from it, or make excuses for it…

    1. Kent Cassidy

      Thank you for your support. Indeed the ship has sailed, Sammy and I understand that and don’t wish to be reinstated. Though we had issue with PDT, the purpose of the third video was not to attack them out of spite. We decided that the footage, without revealing personal data, would clearly highlight the absurdity of the situation and reveal the nature of cancel-culture behavior, while better defending us from the statements made by PDT.

      I am also disappointed by the contents of this article. While not all words of mine were nice, my character is clearly being misrepresented on this – either being influenced by PDT’s statement or general PC/cancel-culture.

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