University of Oklahoma president lambastes frat that chanted racist epithets

The reaction of officials and campus groups to a video of the chant has been swift and uncompromising.

Less than 48 hours after the University of Oklahoma student group Unheard posted this short video of members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chanting racist epithets, the frat has been all but entirely removed from campus.

According to USA Today, the Greek letters have been removed from the house, and members have until Tuesday night to move out.

An investigation is underway, but university officials wasted no time in condemning the actions of the students involved. Here’s the statement President David Boren posted to Facebook:

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 and 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 possessions 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 zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.

Boren also held a press conference Monday afternoon, in which he said members of the fraternity who “took leading roles in orchestrating the chant” could be expelled or otherwise disciplined.

The response to the university’s actions in the wake of the video has been positive. USA Today quoted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as saying the university took “an appropriate step” by removing the fraternity from campus. There were Twitter responses such as this one:

Chelsea Davis, co-founder of the Unheard student group, told CNN that she hopes that the university implements mandatory diversity or sensitivity training for people “who come from backgrounds where you don’t typically see people of color.”

The national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization also released a statement, which read, in part:

This type of racist behavior will not be tolerated and is not consistent with the values and morals of our fraternity. We have more than 15,000 collegiate members across the nation, and this incident should not reflect on other brothers because this type of hateful action is not what Sigma Alpha Epsilon stands for. This is absolutely not who we are. Sigma Alpha Epsilon is not a racist, sexist or bigoted fraternity.

How would you rate the response to this crisis, PR Daily readers?


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