In some cases racism strikes in the form of subtle, discreet attacks that attempt to trade in their label of “racist” for a more pleasant moniker of “politically incorrect.” Other times, racism is bold, shocking and blatant.
The latter is the case with a group of students believed to be attending the University of Oklahoma.
Members of the OU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were seen on video reciting a racist chant that contained racial slurs and references to lynching Black people that want to be a part of the fraternity.
Since the disturbing video hit the web, protests have sparked on the university’s campus and the phrase “Tear it down” was spray painted on the side of the fraternity house.
The now viral video was shot on Saturday night, according to Oklahoma news station KOCO.
The video captured a group of white students chanting, “There will never be a n****r SAE.”
Other parts of the short clip are inaudible but another disturbing line can be heard clearly.
“….You can hang them from a tree,” the group chants followed by another round of “There will never be a n****r SAE.”
The fraternity, which claims to be diverse and racially inclusive, has issued a statement condemning the former members of the frat and immediately closed the OU chapter of SAE.
“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, according to KOCO. “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 way.”
Reports indicate that the fraternity members had until midnight Sunday night to get off campus.
The fraternity’s national organization issued an apology about the matter and insisted that the OU chapter did not accurately represent the frat’s core values and beliefs.
“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,” the statement said. “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 by also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.”
The fraternity hopes to restart the OU chapter in the future but said they want new members who will “exemplify our beliefs and who serve as leaders on campus and in the community.”
The students’ punishments could also go well beyond consequences pertaining to the fraternity. The university’s president revealed that the school is looking into the matter and will take action if it is proven that the young people in the video are indeed OU students.
“I have just been informed of the video, which purports to show students engaging in a racist chant,” OU President David Boren said in a statement. “We are investigating to determine if the video involved OU students. If OU students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly. This behavior is contrary to all of our values.”