In what seemed like something you only hear about in history books depicting racist and bigot groups, a disturbing video went viral on Sunday.
Sigma Alpha Eta members chanted highly racially offensive sayings towards African Americans, repeatedly using "nigger" to describe them and the gruesome acts they would partake in.
As a result, the Oklahoma University chapter of SAE has been shut down by the National SAE Organization.
National SAE president Brad Cohen said he hopes the university expels the students involved
"In addition, all of the members have been suspended (from the organization), and those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently," the national organization said in a statement. "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."
OU President David Boren released a statement Monday morning:
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 positions 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.
David L. Boren
University of Oklahoma
The national president of SAE, Brad Cohen, said an emergency board meeting was called Sunday night to address the issue.
"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.”
It is the wish of the organization to restart an OU chapter of SAE in the future with new members who "exemplify our beliefs and who serve as leaders on campus and in the community."
The White House responded
to the fraternity's actions.
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