by Claire Snyder
The fraternity SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) at University of Oklahoma is not known for its southern hospitality, but for a video of member singing deeply racist chants. The video depicts frat members chanting “There will never be a [racial expletive] at SAE, you can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me, there will never be a [racial expletive] at SAE.” to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” Saturday night before a celebration.
The video was sent to the schools newspaper and to Unheard, a campus organization. The University of Oklahoma is deeply ashamed by this incident and took immediate action, closing the house the next day. The students were suspended and the University is looking into actions that can be taken against individual members. The University has also threatened life long suspension against anyone responsible for the chant.
Over a bullhorn, University President David Boren stated his disgust and the disgracefulness of the incident. Boren and many others from campus claim the incident is not representative of the Sooners, a nickname for the Oklahoma students. The house was shut down Monday and members were forced the move out. The SAE house at the University was vandalized with graffiti as retaliation by University students.
A large crowd of students gathered outside of a building on campus, many students wearing tape over their mouth with the word “Unheard” written across. The school group Unheard says that racism is alive on campus, that this mindset is not new, and that the racism is not confined to one fraternity. Unheard is one of many organizations around campus working towards racial equality and preventing incidents like this.
An African American CNN reporter, Don Lemon, interviewed a KKK member on his response to the national outrage about the Oklahoma SAE chant. In the interview James Moore an Imperial Kludd of the Loyal White Knights says he believes the incident is a double standard, that black fraternities and sororities exist yet there are not exclusive fraternities and sororities for whites.
“You understand there are black fraternities because blacks couldn’t get into white fraternities.” responded Lemon.
Throughout the interview the two argue and tried to talk over each other. Moore and Lemon had different views on America, fraternities, and religion, which they argued about angrily during the interview.
The national fraternity of SAE declared it will be reviewing all 237 chapters of the frat and will begin a four part diversity initiative. Blaine Ayers, the executive director of the fraternity condemns the actions and says they are absolutely opposed to the values of the Oklahoma University SAE. Ayers also apologized for the pain the incident caused and they are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again.
Overall this Oklahoma incident has shown many people around the country that racism is still prevalent. The President of the University claimed its zero tolerance for racism’s ugly head on campus in hopes that the nation will follow suit against these racist acts. The President decided to expel the two students who took the lead in the chant. Boren has taken immediate action to expel these students and is still looking into the incident. Hoping with the publicity this incident drew, more people will be aware of racism still existing and will try and put a stop to it.