SAE Video Ignites National Uproar

Brothers of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity (SAE) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) have made national headlines after a video showing members making racist chants was posted online.

Several members of the fraternity could be clearly seen chanting “There will never be a n****r at SAE. You can hang them in a tree, but they’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n****r at SAE” in the video posted to YouTube on last Sunday.

This scandal has begun to revive the national discussion over the role of Greek life at universities that resulted from the Rolling Stone article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter. However, the situation at the OU has taken a different turn; the condemnation of the chapter by students and the administration. University president David Boren shut down the SAE chapter and made clear that they would not return to his university.

“The house will be closed and, as far as I’m concerned, they won’t be back,” Boren said. “There seems to be a culture in some of these fraternities, and it has to be snuffed out.”

Boren, a former Oklahoma Governor and U.S. Senator, declared a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior “This is not a place that wants racists or bigots on our campus or will tolerate it, so I think you have to send a very strong signal”.

Boren took this a step further when he expelled the two students who were seen leading the chant earlier this week. Students joined the president in condemning the chapter’s behavior with several protests across campus.

Unheard, a civil rights group, organized a silent protest on the university campus in which students marched with tape over their mouths. Some students even spray-painted the fraternity house with the words “tear it down.”

University football players joined in the protests as well. Coach Bob Stoops cancelled the team’s practice and instead marched with his players across the campus. However, this showing of support was not enough to prevent one of the team’s top recruits, Jean Delance, from de-committing to the Sooners.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon national organization has been in damage control mode and has condemned the behavior of their University of Oklahoma chapter.

“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 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” said SAE national president Brad Cohen in a statement from the organization.

All members of the chapter have been suspended by the national organization and face permanent revocation.

University of Richmond SAE chapter president Tucker White agreed with the national organization’s statement.

“Our chapter is both disappointed and disgusted over the recent video from the University of Oklahoma. This chapter’s shocking behavior was completely inadmissible, and in not way reflects the feelings of beliefs of SAE as a whole,” White said. “Our chapter does not condone such behavior, and we support our member regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. We fully agree with the steps that have been taken by SAE and OU of suspending the members and dissolving the chapter. We want to extend a very sincere apology to all those who were affected or offended by the ignorant behavior of the former OU chapter”.

Contact Forum assistant lead writer, Dylan McAuley, at dylan.mcauley@richmond.edu.

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