Ruth Sherlock, Telegraph, November 3, 2015
A fraternity at Yale University has been accused of turning dark-skinned students away from a party over the weekend, telling them that the event was for “white girls only”.
A member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon stood in the doorway of the crowded Halloween party and barred access to several students, explaining that the fraternity was “only looking for white girls,” according to an eye witnesses.
“A group of girls came up who were predominantly black and Hispanic,” Sofia Petrol-Gouin, a visiting student from Columbia university told the Washington Post. “He held his hand up to their faces and said, ‘No, we’re only looking for white girls’.”
Ms Gouin, who is black herself said she witnessed the exchange because she had become separated from her white friends who were accepted into the party, and had become pinned behind the student controlling the entrance.
As he was turning the students away, a separate grip of white girls raised their hands to get access and he pulled them in, saying “Yeah, that’s what we’re looking for,” according to Ms Gouin.
The Columbia University student’s testimony came as several female Yale students took to Facebook with similar accounts of racism by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Neema Githere posted a message on her private Facebook page saying that she and her friends had been previously rejected from a party by the fraternity because of a “whites only” policy.
“A belated shoutout to the SAE member who turned me and my friends away for the same reason last year. God Bless the USA,” she wrote.
The Facebook post quickly garnered 731 ‘Likes’ and 91 shares.
Several people commented on the post citing similar experiences with the fraternity.
Kristen Wright, a Yale student, commented on the post claiming that she was one of the women turned away from the Halloween party at the weekend: “They turned away my group made up of all minorities last night.”
Ivonne Gonzalez, another Yale student wrote: “Reminds me of the time they asked me and a group of other Latino, predominantly Mexican, friends for our passports when we tried to go to their s—– party a little over a year ago.”
The fraternity has categorically denied the charges of racism by some of its members.
“Obviously I was shocked and flabbergasted [at the idea] that anyone in SAE would even have these words come from their mouths,” Grant Mueller, the SAE president told Yale Daily News. “It’s just kind of upsetting for me because we try to be so incredibly accepting and take pride in our diversity.”
The SAE has been repeatedly accused of having racist traditions in its culture.
Last spring, a video emerged showing SAE members at the University of Oklahoma chanting that they would never allow black people to join the fraternity. In the video, which went viral, they included references to lynchings.
The national chapter of the fraternity earlier this year announced a new set of initiatives promoting “tolerance and respect” that were designed to change the culture of the fraternity.