On March 7, 2015, a couple of the members from the now-disbanded Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity chapter on Oklahoma University filmed a chant which consisted of racial slurs that targeted the black community. This upset the student body, creating a rally and chanting, “Not on our campus”. The chanting that started this uproar? “There will never be a n**** in SAE. You can hang them from a tree but they’ll never sign with me”.
The person in the video, identified as Parker Rice, is a nineteen year old from Dallas Texas. He told the Dallas Morning News, “I admit that it likely was fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before the bus trip, but that’s not an excuse. Yes, the song was taught to us, but that too doesn’t work as an explanation”. Adding on to the fuel, another student also named Parker Rice who attends Oklahoma State, the university’s rival school, has been receiving death threats on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, having been mistaken for the other Rice. Although the innocent Rice tried to clear his name through social media, he became criticized as a liar and continued receiving death threats. The innocent Rice, involved with Alpha Phi Omega, claimed that he had no involvement with SAE fraternity at all. While it is uncertain if he is still receiving death threats, the guilty Rice has sent apologetic statements across the nation.
Additional lines in the chant included lynching of the black community. Rice claims that he left the university although there is evidence that suggests he was expelled. It was confirmed that he led the chant alongside twenty year old Levi Petit, also expelled from the university.
There has been debate whether or not this needed to be a national issue to begin with. The Freedom of Speech argument has surfaced, with controversy swirling around that the expulsion of the fraternity was against the constitution. Lawyer Stephen Jones was hired by the chapter’s board of directors to not protect the students expelled but to protect the First Amendment and due process rights. Oklahoma University President David Boren is currently under fire for these allegations.
Rice’s family had to leave due to protests outside their house*. The chapter is now closed, with membership being permanently revoked and its former members having to move out by Monday, March 16, at midnight.
*See first picture above. Second picture is of Parker Rice.