“There will never be a n***** at SAE…”
Those are the words that members of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma were chanting. After a video leaked over the weekend of the tasteless and disrespectful chant a call to action for swift punishment to the organization ensued.
A campus group called the Unheard Movement who exposed the SAE members happily cheering and yelling the hateful message posted this:
On March 8, 2015 a video was released. This video contains language that is offensive, disrespectful, and unacceptable. We, Unheard, stand firmly against bigotry, racism, and any injustice to all minority communities, on any campus, or in any setting. We aim to share light that WE DO NOT LIVE IN A POST RACIAL AMERICA. Even after 50 years after the events that occurred in Selma, Alabama we still have a reason to march. We as a people have indeed come a long way, but yet still have so far to go. Within this video there appears to be members of a national fraternity known as Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Let this press statement serve as a notice that we will not accept this.
Both the University of Oklahoma President, David Boren, and SAE President, Brad Cohen shut down the chapter immediately along with publishing a series of tweets.
I know I speak for all when I say I’m disgusted and shocked by the video involving our @sae1856 chapter at Uof OK. They will be dealt with.
— Brad Cohen (@SAE_ESA_brad) March 9, 2015
To @sae1856 members, key to being True Gentlemen is always doing the right thing when no one is watching. Treat all with respect & dignity
— Brad Cohen (@SAE_ESA_brad) March 9, 2015
Sigma Alpha Epsilon also posted this press release on their official website:
Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters has closed its Oklahoma Kappa chapter at the University of Oklahoma following the discovery of an inappropriate video. In addition, all of the members have been suspended, and those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently. We apologize for the unacceptable and racist behavior of the individuals in the video, and we are disgusted that any member would act in such a way. Furthermore, we are embarrassed by this video and offer our empathy not only to anyone outside the organization who is offended but also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. 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. We teach our members to serve as role models in their communities and to live up to our creed, “The True Gentleman.” When members fail to do so, we will not hesitate to take corrective actions or to impose sanctions. Any behavior that is not aligned with the conduct we expect is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is bystander behavior of members who fail to intervene when they witness conduct that deviates from our beliefs. “I was not only shocked and disappointed but disgusted by the outright display of racism displayed in the video,” said Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president. “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. I am proud of my fellow board members because we mean what we say.” Alumni who serve on the chapter’s house corporation board and who serve as advisers are appalled by the video and the song that was sung in it. They do not condone offensive and hateful behavior and will hold accountable the men who participated in the incident. Although Sigma Alpha Epsilon regrets the closure, we believe members must be held responsible for their actions. We are hopeful that we can re-establish the Oklahoma Kappa chapter at some point in the future with a group of men who exemplify our beliefs and who serve as leaders on campus and in the community.
On Monday morning, Sigma Alpha Epsilon members were also kicked out of their campus housing.
Updated statement attached – DBo pic.twitter.com/xxfiJwCh0P
— David Boren (@President_Boren) March 9, 2015
People alleging to be members from other chapters have come forward to say that this is a very known chant throughout the SAE organization.
After watching the video it seems to me as if they were taught this chant. I almost feel certain that this was passed down from generation to generation. I am happy that someone was bold enough to upload this video to YouTube. With all that is going on with racial issues in America it is evident that the problem needed to addressed. These same members could go on to be teachers, doctors, lawyers and law makers that smile in your face, but secretly hate your guts.