University of Oklahoma student expelled from sorority over blackface video

The University of Oklahoma's response to the video has been criticised 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Sunday 20 January 2019 23:17
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Female student wears blackface in Snapchat video

A student and member of a Tri Delta sorority chapter at the University of Oklahoma was expelled from the group after a video showing a woman participating in blackface was uploaded to social media.

In the video, a woman can be seen covering her face with black paint. The same woman can also be heard saying a racial slur while the person filming the video, who the Tri Delta group confirmed to The Independent was its member, can be seen laughing.

On Saturday, after the video was shared widely online, the sorority’s collegiate chapter president London Moore released a statement in which she said: “Our chapter condemns the racist, offensive and disgraceful conduct of the two women involved in the video posted yesterday.

“More specifically, we are deeply disappointed in the actions of the one woman associated with the Theta Gamma chapter of Tri Delta.

“The behaviour documented in the video is abhorrent and is in no way consistent with Tri Delta’s ideals. To those students directly impacted by this senseless act of racism, we are deeply sorry, and we know that is not enough.”

The sorority also confirmed that the "woman who participated in, filmed and posted the video is no longer a member of our organisation".

The video sparked outrage when it was uploaded to Twitter on Friday, after first being filmed on Snapchat.

Although the students have not been formally identified, The University of Oklahoma has also faced backlash over its response to the video - which some deemed insufficient considering the gravity of the situation.

Though it acknowledged the issues with the offensive video in a statement released by the president, the school appeared to take no action other than accepting apologies from the students.

In a statement, president James L Gallogly said: “We are saddened and offended that even on the eve of such an important holiday for our nation we are reminded how far we have yet to come in the conversation about treating everyone with respect and dignity.

“The University of Oklahoma abhors such conduct and condemns the students’ actions and behaviour in the strongest terms possible. While students have the freedom of expression, the negative impact of such conduct cannot be underestimated.

“The students have offered to apologise in order to reflect their regret.”

In response to the school’s statement and handling of the situation, students and alumni have expressed their disapproval with the University of Oklahoma.

“Are you really ‘saddened’ and ‘offended’? When the only thing given is a bs apology? DO BETTER. It’s embarrassing to be a Sooner today,” one person wrote.

Another said: “That’s unacceptable. As an alumni I will not be donating any money to the university as long as this is treated so casually. I’m incredibly disappointed in this weak and inadequate response.”

This is not the first time the school has found itself in the midst of controversy regarding racism.

In 2015, a viral video showed members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing a racist song.

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The fraternity was later shut down and two students were expelled over the incident.

The Independent has contacted the University of Oklahoma for comment.

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