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Two University of Oklahoma Students Expelled Over Racist Video

Two students from the University of Oklahoma were expelled on Tuesday due to their “leadership roles” in a video of a racist chant by members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. 

Just days after the video went viral and sparked a nationwide outrage, university president David Boren has expelled (but not identified) two members of the fraternity, stating that they had “created a hostile learning environment for others.”

In a statement issued by President Boren, the university is continuing its investigation into the video and the students involved.

“I have acted today to expel two students who were leaders in the singing of a racist chant,” Boren tweeted. “When the identities of others involved is confirmed, they will face ‘appropriate disciplinary action.'”

The 10-second video, which was tweeted at President Boren on Sunday night by OU’s black student group, Unheard, shows a group of fraternity members riding a charter bus to their formal while chanting a racial slur and making a reference to lynching: “You can hang ’em from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n****r in SAE.”

The fallout from the video has been pretty disastrous, with Waka Flocka cancelling his upcoming show at the university and one of the nation’s most sought-after high school football players, Jean Delance of Mesquite, TX, decommitting to play football for OU.

Boren has already made it well known that he and the university have zero tolerance for racism and hate speech given his participation in the protest of the video that took place on campus on Monday morning, as well as his statement which condemned the fraternity members and gave them 48 hours to vacate the frat’s on-campus house.

“I have emphasized that there is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said. “I hope the entire nation will join us in having zero tolerance of such racism when it raises its ugly head in other situations across our country.”

The national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has officially suspended the members of the fraternity and have shuttered the house. Now in crisis management mode, the national chapter is also seeking to defend its name, claiming that the actions taking place in the video do not reflect the views of the organization as a whole. 

“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.”

But, while SAE tries to defend their good name and note that this video is nowhere near a proper representation of the 15,000 members of the fraternity nationwide, other similar incidents involving members of SAE at other universities have since been reported, with one ex-pledge from Louisiana Tech claiming that the same song was being chanted by members at a rush party. 

“Some reports have alleged that the racist chant in the video is part of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon tradition, which is completely false,” SAE said in a statement. “The fraternity has a number of songs that have been in existence for more than a century, but the chant is in no way endorsed by the organization nor part of any education whatsoever.”

The video was recorded on Saturday night, as the members were on the way to their formal to celebrate their Founders Day, which is March 9. The purpose of celebrating Founders Day, according to the fraternity, is to “bring Sigma Alpha Epsilon closer to its antebellum roots, closer to the original experience and goals shared by the Founding Fathers.”

Danielle is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in English and minoring in Sociology. You can usually find her dividing her time between being Campus Correspondent of Her Campus UGA, binge-watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and daydreaming about being one of Beyonce's backup dancers. If you want to know more about Danielle, you can follow her on Instagram (@danielleknecole_) or Twitter (@DanielleKnecole).
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