Frat at University of Oklahoma Permanently Closed After Racist Chant

Illustration for article titled Frat at University of Oklahoma Permanently Closed After Racist Chant

The national leadership of Sigma Alpha Epsilon—the fraternity that sure seems to show up in a lot of terrible stories—has permanently closed the chapter at University of Oklahoma after a video surfaced showing frat brothers chanting about hanging "niggers" from trees.


Here's the video, which is obviously not something you should view if you've got high blood pressure or an allergy to drunk racist idiots:

The unnamed frat bros are chanting, "There'll never be a nigger at SAE" and "You can hang him from a tree but he'll never sign with me." You can also briefly see women on the bus, who appear to be placidly enjoying the chant.

OU President David Boren immediately issued a blistering statement calling the students "disgraceful" and closing the frat's house on campus, giving them until midnight to remove their belongings. Local news station KOCO reports that the house was vandalized overnight, with someone writing, "Tear it down" on a wall outside.

As Think Progress points out, the frat has a long history of disgraceful and frequently racist behavior at at least six schools, including a 2006 case at University of Memphis where an SAE member quit due to harassment he received from other brothers for dating a black woman, and a 2000 incident at Oglethorpe University where frat brothers from SAE and three other Greek houses reportedly harassed and "screamed racial epithets" at visiting black athletes. In December, the all-white chapter at Clemson University was suspended for a "Merry Cripmas" party, where idiots dressed up like their favorite black stereotype. In February, SAE's Yale chapter was banned from campus for violating the university's sexual misconduct policy during an initiation ceremony.

But the "nigger" chant at OU was evidently too much even for SAE's national leadership, who promptly announced that they are closing the chapter altogether.

"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," the statement reads, in part. "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." They add that they're hopeful "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."


Sure, sure. As Think Progress also pointed out, SAE makes sure to note on its national homepage that the frat is the only existing one "founded in the antebellum South," and that it initially "confined its growth to the southern states." There's also a tidbit about the 369 SAE brothers who "went to war for the Confederate States," while only seven fought for the Union Army. Certainly a cool and wise thing to brag about.

After news of the fraternity's disbanding hit the Internet, Blake Burkhart, an SAE alum from University of Oklahoma, started an Indigogo petition to raise money for the house's cook, a black man he refers to only as "Howard."


"Today we received the news that some ignorant kids have quickly destroyed something that thousands of men built," Burkhart writes. "Because of these kids' actions, many will be affected. None more so than Howard." He adds, "[T]hat man is going to walk up to the SAE house tomorrow morning and hear that he no longer has a job. He is going to learn who has been working for. And through some cruel twist of fate, he has to lose the job that he has held for over a decade. He is going to lose his job because of a bus full of racist kids."

SAE Oklahoma Kappa's snow-white Christmas card. Image via Facebook


Tom Servo's mechanical heart

I was (emphases on WAS) Facebook friends with someone I knew from college who was, apparently, an SAE. His post about this incident was so insanely disgusting and horrifying that I'm tempted to post it here, verbatim, and would if I wasn't so paranoid.

His comments were basically thus, all while saying, of course, that he didn't condone the song, per se:

  • This is only a story because it's a "slow news day."
  • We shouldn't expect any better because this was a southern fraternity*, so we should expect prejudice and should not be surprised. As a southerner, I find that insanely fucking offensive.
  • He is disappointed in the national SAE chapter for throwing these kids under the bus.
  • While acknowledging that the frat boys "misused their freedom of speech" - it's still their freedom to abuse it and many people INCLUDING BLACK PEOPLE died to protect it.

I have never unfriended anyone so fast in my life. WHAT in the actual fuck.

*Since when is Oklahoma considered the south? did I miss a memo? I mean, is it? I always considered it the west. Ish.