Students of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity at the University of Oklahoma (OU) have been suspended after the discovery of a video with a racist chant. The fraternity announced that it will close down the OU chapter following the incident.
SAE said in a statement that its investigation confirmed that the video showed members of the fraternity making references to lynching and stating that black people would never be admitted to the fraternity. The national fraternity said, according to The Associated Press, that it was "embarrassed" by the "unacceptable and racist" behavior. The video was posted on the Internet by a black student at the university.
The chant’s lyrics said, according to KFOR TV: “There will never be a n***** in SAE,” adding: “You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me.”
The video was reportedly made on Saturday, when the students were on their way to a date party for the fraternity’s founder’s day celebration, Fox News reported. The SAE is one of the largest fraternities in the country and has over 15,000 members in more than 2,000 universities.
“I was not only shocked and disappointed but disgusted by the outright display of racism displayed in the video,” Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president, said, in a statement, adding: “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.”
In February, SAE was banned from conducting on-campus activities at Yale University in Connecticut until August 2016, as punishment for violating the university's sexual misconduct policy, and for trying to disrupt an investigation into the incident. In 2014, the University of Connecticut banned the fraternity for five years following hazing allegations, The New York Times reported.
David Boren, OU’s president, said, according to the Times, that the university's administration is also investigating the video. “If O.U. students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly,” he said, according to the Times, adding: “This behavior is reprehensible and contrary to all of our values.”
The video of the chant was uploaded on YouTube.