Ugh. Blogs and social media blew up on Sunday night with a sickening story out of the University of Oklahoma, where a racist video has leaked of what’s alleged to be Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity Brothers chanting a disgusting racist chant. It’s absolutely abhorrent and sickening behavior for anyone to engage in, much less a group associated with a fraternity. Watching their enthusiasm while engaging in such a gross chant on a charter bus brings a whole slew of adjectives to mind: Ignorant, shameful, repulsing, abhorrent, and pretty damn close to evil.
If this is indeed a SAE, it is sad to see that racism at fraternities is still alive and well in 2015. It is sad and disturbing that any group would act like this, much less one that calls themselves “the true gentlemen” in their creed. This is not how gentlemen act. This is how barbaric cavemen act.
UPDATE 1AM: Here’s a new video of the SAE dudes in their formal wear doing the chant, including someone trying to stop someone from recording the chant. When you hear almost every single person on the bus yell the chant, it seems like it’s part of an SAE tradition at OU, not “the action of a few,” as some fraternities like to say in the wake of PR disasters. Awful. They should be ashamed of themselves:
UPDATES: SAE is aware of the video now:
Sigma Alpha Epsilon is aware of the video and is both shocked and appalled at what we have seen. (Cont)
— Sigma Alpha Epsilon (@sae1856) March 8, 2015
Those types of behaviors are not consistent with our values whatsoever. (Cont)
— Sigma Alpha Epsilon (@sae1856) March 8, 2015
And President of OU has chimed in:
If the video is indeed of OU students, this behavior will not be tolerated and is contrary to all of our values. We are investigating. – DBo
— David Boren (@President_Boren) March 9, 2015
And the fraternity has issued a Cease and Desist against the chapter:
And here’s a tweet from a group called “Unheard at OU”:
— Unheard (@OU_Unheard) March 8, 2015
UPDATE 3AM: SAE has officially closed its chapter at the University of Oklahoma and released a statement. According to the OU Daily, all members were forced to vacate the house this evening. Here’s the statement from SAE:
Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters has closed its Oklahoma Kappa chapter at the University of Oklahoma following the discovery of an inappropriate video. In addition, all of the members have been suspended, and those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently.
We apologize for the unacceptable and racist behavior of the individuals in the video, and we are disgusted that any member would act in such a way. Furthermore, we are embarrassed by this video and offer our empathy not only to anyone outside the organization who is offended but also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.
This type of racist behavior will not be tolerated and is not consistent with the values and morals of our fraternity. We have more than 15,000 collegiate members across the nation, and this incident should not reflect on other brothers because this type of hateful action is not what Sigma Alpha Epsilon stands for. This is absolutely not who we are.
We teach our members to serve as role models in their communities and to live up to our creed, “The True Gentleman.” When members fail to do so, we will not hesitate to take corrective actions or to impose sanctions. Any behavior that is not aligned with the conduct we expect is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is bystander behavior of members who fail to intervene when they witness conduct that deviates from our beliefs.
“I was not only shocked and disappointed but disgusted by the outright display of racism displayed in the video,” said Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president. “SAE is a diverse organization, and we have zero tolerance for racism or any bad behavior. When we learned about this incident, I called an immediate board meeting, and we determined with no mental reservation whatsoever that this chapter needed to be closed immediately. I am proud of my fellow board members because we mean what we say.”
Alumni who serve on the chapter’s house corporation board and who serve as advisers are appalled by the video and the song that was sung in it. They do not condone offensive and hateful behavior and will hold accountable the men who participated in the incident.
Although Sigma Alpha Epsilon regrets the closure, we believe members must be held responsible for their actions. We are hopeful that we can re-establish the Oklahoma Kappa chapter at some point in the future with a group of men who exemplify our beliefs and who serve as leaders on campus and in the community.
And it looks like the house has already been vandalized: