Posted on March 9, 2015

Oklahoma Students Protest Fraternity’s Racist Video

John Bacon, USA Today, March 9, 2015

The University of Oklahoma has severed ties with Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and could expel some members shown in a video chanting racist remarks, school President David Boren said Monday.

Boren, who joined hundreds of students at the Norman campus in a predawn protest, called the students participating in the video “disgraceful” and promised a thorough investigation.

“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful,” Boren tweeted after the protest. “You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourself ‘Sooners.'”

Boren added that the school will become “an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

At a news conference later Monday, Boren said the school will review what actions it could take against individual students, particularly “some of those who took leading roles in orchestrating the chant.”


The video was posted online Sunday by Unheard, a black student group at OU. SAE’s national headquarters said Sunday night that an investigation confirmed that it was local SAE members on the video chanting racial slurs against blacks and indicating that blacks would never be admitted to the fraternity’s chapter in Norman. The chant also references lynching.

SAE issued a statement saying the fraternity chapter at the school has been closed and its members suspended from the national organization. SAE apologized for the video and said it did not reflect the views of its 15,000 members nationwide.


On Monday, the building had been vandalized with graffiti. On one side of the building, in huge letters, was written “Tear it D.” Two unidentified chapter members told The Oklahoma Daily, the student newspaper, that they had received death threats.

Pictures posted on social media showed workers removing from the building’s exterior the Greek letters of the fraternity’s name.


OU is a state school with 30,000 students, two-thirds of them undergraduates. Almost two-thirds of the student body is white, about 5% is black with the rest other minority groups. {snip}