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Fraternity closes Ole Miss chapter after racial incident

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(CNN) -- The Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity has closed its chapter at the University of Mississippi after three of its members were suspected of tying a noose around the neck of a campus statue of civil rights icon James Meredith.

Meredith was the first black student admitted to Ole Miss, which is in Oxford.

"The decision is not a result of any individual incident, but a response to newly discovered, ongoing behavior that includes incidents of hazing, underage drinking, alcohol abuse, and failure to comply with the university and fraternity's codes of conduct," the fraternity said in a statement Thursday.

"Though the incident involving the James Meredith statue several months ago did not directly result in the chapter's closure, it did mark the beginning of an intensified period of review."

In February, someone placed a noose around the bronze statue and left behind a flag with the symbol of the Confederacy.

The fraternity said then that it would expel the three students.

"Sigma Phi Epsilon is committed to being a different kind of fraternity -- one that recognizes the importance of the out-of-classroom experience and is committed to making that experience the safest and most empowering part of a college male's life," CEO Brian Warren said in the statement.

"Though it's always painful to close a chapter, these students' actions clearly illustrate a determination to perpetuate an experience based on risky and unconstructive behavior. In these cases, we have no choice but to close the chapter and return to campus at a later date."

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