Effective immediately, the University of Oklahoma plans to sever all ties between the school and its Kappa chapter of the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity due to the recent leak of a video of the fraternity members chanting a racial slur.
The video went viral on Sunday night after being posted on Twitter by a black student organization named Unheard, with the accompanying caption, “Racism is alive at The University of Oklahoma.” The 10-second video, which the group tweeted to the university’s president, David Boren, shows a group of young men and at least one woman on a bus chanting a song that includes the N-word, saying “there will never be a n****r in SAE,” and making despicable references to lynching. Boren followed this by promising students that the video will be investigated.
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“We are investigating to determine if the video involved O.U. students,” he stated. “If O.U. students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly. If the reports are true the chapter will no longer remain on campus. This behavior is reprehensible and contrary to all of our values.”
Fast forward to Monday morning, when Boren joined a large group of students as they protested the video on campus. In a tweet that was sent out after the protest, Boren condemned the video and referred to the students who participated in it as “disgraceful.”
“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful,” he wrote. “You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourself ‘Sooners.'”
After the release of the video, the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization closed the chapter at O.U. and suspended all of its fraternity members, claiming that this incident did not reflect the views of organization nationwide.
“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,” SAE wrote in a statement. “Furthermore, we are embarassed 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.”
According to Boren, the university is looking into a range of punishment, including the possiblility of expulsion. And, in a statement written earlier, the university stated that all ties between the school and the chapter are “hereby severed.” Boren also ordered that the fraternity’s on-campus house be shuttered. All members currently living in the house be out by Tuesday at midnight and the university has no plans on helping the students find new housing.
“That’s not our responsibility,” he said. “We don’t provide student services to bigots.”