Update (3/10/2015 1:03 p.m.): President David Boren of the University of Oklahoma announced that two students were identified as leaders in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon racist chanting video. The students were expelled according to Boren stating “that there is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior” at the school.
Update (3/10/2015 9:54 a.m.): The University of Oklahoma chapter of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, which had been reported to be under investigation for links to the racist video, said late Monday that they are not under formal investigation. The Tri-Delt national organization said, however, that they are cooperating fully with the university’s investigation.
By Michael Nam
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity at the University of Oklahoma found out just how fast a viral video of racist behavior can reap consequences. The video allegedly shows members of the fraternity taking part enthusiastically in an explicitly racist chant using a slur for Black people and referencing lynching:
The response was rapid, as the national headquarters for the fraternity issued a statement closing the Oklahoma chapter. Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president, said, “SAE is a diverse organization, and we have zero tolerance for racism or any bad behavior. When we learned about this incident, I called an immediate board meeting, and we determined with no mental reservation whatsoever that this chapter needed to be closed immediately. I am proud of my fellow board members because we mean what we say.”
Additionally, the university community in Norman reacted rapidly as demonstrations were held Monday morning by members of the student body in repudiation of the actions caught on video, though members of the fraternity apparently left their house Sunday night. The SAE house was reportedly vandalized overnight with the spray painted words “Tear it down,” according to local TV station KFOR. Also, early Monday morning, the President of the school, David Boren, released an updated statement via Twitter harshly rebuking the actions of those on the video and detailing the university’s official response.
“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots. Real Sooners believe in equal opportunity. Real Sooners treat all people with respect. Real Sooners love each other take care of each other like family members.
“Effective immediately, all ties and affiliations between this University and the local SAE chapter are hereby severed. I direct that the house be closed and that members will remove their personal belongings from the house by midnight tomorrow. Those needing to make special arrangements for positions shall contact the Dean of Students.
“All of us will redouble our efforts to create the strongest sense of family and community. We vow that we will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be a zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”
A Vine surfaced on Monday night showing the SAE house mother, Beauton Gilbow, laughing as she repeats the N-word several times while rapping along to a song.