STORY BY ETHAN FICKAU
A shocking video was released this week of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity members chanting a racist slur at the University of Oklahoma (OU).
The video depicted fraternity members chanting racist slurs and referencing lynching. The bus chant, to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know it,” declared there would never be a black member in their respected chapter.
Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president, closed the Oklahoma Kappa chapter, and OU President David Boren has banned it from the campus.
“You are disgraceful,” Boren said. “You have violated every principle that this university stands for. Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots. Real Sooners treat each other with respect. This won’t be tolerated for one second.”
Boren ordered all SAE members to move out of the fraternity house and expelled two of the members yesterday.
SAE’s national Associate Executive Director of Communications Brandon Weghorst told NBC, “We were absolutely appalled and shocked at this video. And more so, we were outraged that any member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon would think that this is somehow acceptable.”
A statement released by headquarters also said it was unacceptable that the bystanders on the bus did not intervene in the incident.
The fraternity is one of the nation’s largest Greek organizations with 219 chapters nationally and approximately 15,000 active members since its founding in 1856.
Members of the Drake community, within the Greek system and not, were shocked by the video.
“I was surprised, but racism is definitely still around,” said Sydney Schulte, a sophomore and a former member of Greek life at Drake. “It’s not a thing of the past. My sorority, in particular, would not tolerate anything like this at all. The fraternities here seem very friendly. I cannot visualize anybody here saying things like that.”
Riley Treadwell is in a fraternity at Drake and said that kind of behavior does not reflect fraternity life.
“The fraternities are very well intentioned and meant to make us well rounded men and help us develop leadership characteristics,” Treadwell said. “I can’t imagine anything like this taking place at Drake. There’s a culture of acceptance here. If I thought that the fraternities here didn’t hold those values then I would not be involved in Greek life.”
First-year Caitlyn Morehouse, who is not affiliated with Greek life, said that all universities need to continue to promote racial equality.
“Racism is pretty much everywhere. I think awareness and education are the best ways to combat racism,” Morehouse said.
Sophomore John Wingert is not involved with Drake Greek life and he said it’s awful that racism is still present on campuses today.
“It’s a shame. If they’re going to say stuff like that in representation of the fraternity, they deserve to be removed from campus. You wouldn’t expect this to be as common nowadays but I’m not that surprised that it happened.”
Kerry Jordan, director of fraternity and sorority life at Drake, said she was disgusted by the actions of the OU students in the video.
“I was surprised to see a group of students acting so viciously like that,” Jordan said. “With certainty, I can say that I can’t see my Greek life students doing something like this here at Drake. Our members are very inclusive and very respectful. In my personal experience at Drake, I have never felt that there has been a student who has felt excluded because of their race.”
Drake University’s Constitution of the Inter-fraternity Council states that its purpose is to “promote ethical, racial, sexual awareness and equality of all students at Drake University.”
When the Times-Delphic reached out to Drake’s SAE Iowa Delta Chapter President Kendrick Dewdney, he denied comment.