(NORMAN, Okla.) — The University of Oklahoma is immediately severing “all ties and affiliations” between the school and its local Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the university president said on Monday, and is exploring the possibility of expulsions in the wake of a video that purportedly shows members of the chapter singing a racist chant.
The video, which surfaced over the weekend, was posted to Twitter by Unheard, which describes itself as “an alliance of black students organized for change within campus administration and atmosphere.” The video shows young men on a bus chanting, “There will never be a n—-r at SAE.”
The tweet, directed at OU president David Boren, said, “Racism is alive at The University of Oklahoma.”
Boren said at a news conference that he was “sickened by the video,” and, “I couldn’t sleep after that.”
In a written statement Monday, he said that all ties and affiliations between the school and chapter are “hereby severed.”
“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful,” Boren’s statement read. “You have violated all that we stand for. 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. Real Sooners treat all people with respect. Real Sooners love each other and take care of each other like family members.”
“All of us will redouble our efforts to create the strongest sense of family and community,” he added added. “We vow that we will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”
Boren said SAE residents would have to remove their possessions and vacate the house “by midnight tomorrow.”
At a news conference Monday, Boren said he doesn’t plan on helping the displaced residents find housing.
“That’s not our responsibility,” he said. “We don’t provide student services to bigots.”
In fact, he’d be happy if the “bus-load” of students involved left school, adding that the university’s legal team is exploring possible further punishment up to and including expulsion.
“As they pack their bags, I hope they think long and hard about what they’ve done,” Boren said.
Boren called it “heartbreaking for every member of this community.”
The national SAE organization said in its own statement that it closed the Oklahoma Kappa chapter at the University of Oklahoma and suspended all of the fraternity’s members. The members involved with the incident could also have their membership privileges permanently revoked.
“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,” the online statement reads. “Furthermore, we are embarrassed by this video and offer our empathy not only to anyone outside the organization who is offended but also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.”
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