Members of the fraternity were caught on tape chanting racial slurs

By Steve Helling
March 09, 2015 11:35 AM
Matt Wesling/The Oklahoma Daily

As fraternity chants go, it’s horrifying and offensive – and it’s caught on video.

Dressed in formal wear and riding a charter bus, several fraternity members gleefully chant that black students will never be able to join the fraternity. The chant, which uses racial slurs, also includes a reference to lynching.

The video was first reported by the Oklahoma Daily, a student newspaper that heard about the video from an anonymous tip. It quickly went viral, spreading across social media platforms within hours. Soon, a second video emerged showing the scene from a different angle. While one student gleefully chants the offensive slurs, another student appears to wave away a camera.

The fraternity was quickly identified as the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Reaction was swift and decisive. The national headquarters immediately closed the chapter and suspended the members.

“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. We are embarrassed by this video,” the national leaders of Sigma Alpha Epsilon said in a statement.

“This type of racist behavior will not be tolerated and is not consistent with the values and morals of our fraternity,” the statement continues. “This is absolutely not who we are.”

On Monday morning, hundreds of students staged a peaceful protest. Joined by coaches, faculty and the university president, they quietly gathered and held a prayer vigil. Attendees posted photos of the gathering.

David Boren, the president of the University, also rebuked the fraternity.

“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you,” Boren said in statement. “You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ ”

Boren directed that the frat house be closed. “Members will remove their personal belongings from the house by midnight tomorrow,” he said. “There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

Warning: The video, which can be seen below, contains highly offensive language.

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