The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at Oklahoma University has been shut down after a video reportedly showed multiple members singing a racist chant.
The video showed men, purportedly members of the fraternity, dressed in tuxedos and chanting a song claiming that there would never be a black member in their organisation and making reference to lynching.
The transcript runs:
“There will never be a n***** SAE,
There will never be a n***** SAE,
You can hang ‘em from a tree,
But they’ll never [inaudible] with me,
There will never be a n***** SAE.”
Early on Sunday, the video was posted online by black student organisation Unheard, above the words “Racism is alive at The University of Oklahoma.”
The post was addressed to the University of Oklahoma’s president David Boren, who was quick to voice his outrage.
In under an hour, he responded by saying that the behaviour went against the “University’s values” and would not be tolerated.
He said that if the allegations were true, he would throw the fraternity off campus.
SAE’s national headquarters followed Boren’s statement by announcing that they had taken the decision to close its Oklahoma Kappa branch at OU after discovering the “inappropriate video.”
In a statement it apologised for “the unacceptable and racist behaviour” and said that they were “disgusted that any member could act in such a way.”
They also threatened to remove those responsible from the fraternity for life.
This is not the first time that traditional 'Greek' houses have been embroiled in racist controversies. Last year Sigma Phi Epsilon decided to close its Ole Miss chapter after three members hung a noose around the neck of statue of the university’s ever black student.
Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Arizona State University had its charter suspended in 2014 after students held a party at which they drunk from watermelon cups and held gang poses for photos given the hashtags #blackoutformilk and #ihaveadream.
The Chi Omega sorority at Penn State University faced a backlash in 2012 when a photo circulated online of its members dressed in stereotypical Mexican clothes with signs reading: “Will mow lawn for weed + beer” and “I don’t cut grass I smoke it.”
The racist chanting takes on even more significance as this weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" march at Selma, Alabama.
In 1965, thousands of marchers led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King joined together to attempt a march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery,it was give the name Bloody Sunday after the beating hundreds of marchers received at the hands of police.
On Saturday, President Barack Obama spoke alongside civil rights veterans and walked part of the route taken 50 years ago.
This was followed on Sunday, by a march that saw 70,000 gather at Edmund Pettas Bridge to commemorate the protest that is largely seen as a catalyst for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
A peaceful march is expected throughout the campus of OU on Monday morning, with marchers joining together to protest against racism.
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