The Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma has been shut down after a video showing its members singing a racist chant surfaced on Sunday.
The University’s Black Student Union, Unheard, tweeted the footage of SAE members reciting, “You can hang them from a tree, but he can never sign with me, there will never be a n—-r at SAE.” Twitter users immediately began circulating the video, retweeting the post more than 4,500 times and adopting hashtags like #SAEHatesMe and #NeverBeAN—-rInSAE.
OU president David Boren renounced the fraternity Monday morning, tweeting a statement saying that the University was “severing all ties and affiliations” with SAE, and ordering that the fraternity house close with all residents vacate the premises by midnight tonight. “To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you: You are disgraceful,” Boren said in the statement. Referring to the school’s mascot, he continued, “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.”
The fraternity’s national office has issued an apology, and so far, the school has expelled two students who played a “leadership role” in the video. Boren said via a press release that once more students are identified, “they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.”
Though outraged, many students at the university aren’t surprised at the video. “Clearly, this has been going on for years and years and years, and they think it’s okay because nobody has ever said anything,” said Chelsea Davis, co-founder of Unheard, to CNN. “I hope that the university mandates some type of mandatory diversity training, some type of sensitivity training, something to let people know who come from backgrounds where you don’t see people of color to understand that there are people different from you, but that does not make them lesser than you.”