University of Oklahoma’s chapter of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon is no more.
The school on Monday shut it down after members were caught chanting a racial slur and referencing lynching in a video that went viral. In the clip, which initially surfaced on March 8, members of SAE are seen on a bus chanting, “There will never be a nigger SAE,” indicating Blacks would never be admitted to the fraternity. The chant also includes the line, “You can hang them from a tree.”
“You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for,” the president, David Boren, said in a statement. “Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots.”
Boren set a deadline of midnight Tuesday for the members of the fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, to get their belongings out of the fraternity house. Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, two fraternity members accused of leading the racist chant, were expelled.
The school opened an investigation to determine who was involved. The president said he was consulting with school lawyers and would consider “all possible punishment,” including expulsion.
“I’d be happy if they left, the ones who were involved,” Boren told reporters. “I know not every member of this fraternity was involved. But a large number were, a busload.”
He said school investigators have identified “one or two or three individuals” and ventured that some may decide to leave the school on their own. He said he would pay the bus fare himself.
He cautioned against making generalities about the entire Greek system, but he said he had asked a school vice president to conduct “a deep study into exactly what’s going on.”
The national president of SAE apologized and said that it had closed the chapter and would expel all the members involved.
Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and several Sooners players also attended the protest.
“It’s sad the ignorance that can still be there with some people,” Stoops told the Tulsa World. “It’s just appalling.
“I was here to be with my guys. We all work with beautiful young men and women of all races. It’s just
— very little gets me choked up. But that hurt.”
Assistant football coach Mike Stoops, Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger and approximately 100 athletes were also at the demonstration, according to the Tulsa World.
“(The video) is something that should concern everyone,” Kruger told the paper. “It’s not about athletics. It’s not about anything other than everyone being affected by this.”
The national fraternity released a statement saying it was “embarrassed” by the “unacceptable and racist” behavior.
A link to the video was posted by OU Unheard, a Black student group on campus, after someone anonymously called it to the group’s attention, communications director Alexis Hall said Monday. It’s unclear who recorded the video, when it was recorded and who initially posted it online.