by John Preer
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter of Oklahoma University has been in national headlines lately for a video that surfaced on social media last week.
The video depicts several members of SAE on a bus singing a racially charged song full of derogatory terms for African-Americans. After the video went viral, OU immediately disbanded the chapter and suspended several members.
The university’s response was swift and heavy-handed, expelling two members Monday morning. The SAE frat house has been cleared out and the Greek letters have been removed from the building.
In lieu of the events at OU, the SAE fraternity has been under heavy scrutiny concerning their member diversity and history of racially charged incidents. The VSU chapter of SAE found itself in hot water after members flew a confederate flag on the front lawn in 2009. The chapter was ordered to immediately remove the flag or face disciplinary actions.
SAE is no stranger to these kinds of incidents. The fraternity was founded in the antebellum south and many founding members even fought for the confederate army during the Civil war. It would seem as though some of the old confederate values are alive and well in the fraternity.
SAE officially denounced the former members’ actions and have expressed regret to any who were offended by the video. However, the members that were expelled from OU claim that other members of the fraternity taught them the song. An investigation by the fraternity supported their claim and according to the official SAE website, “Our investigation has found very likely that the men learned the song from fellow chapter members, which reiterates why Sigma Alpha Epsilon did not hesitate to close the chapter completely because of the culture that may have been fostered in the group.”
In a statement given by Parker Rice, one of the members expelled from OU, the incident was “likely fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before the bus trip.”
However, alcohol may not be a sufficient excuse. Some allegations against the fraternity go back more than two decades.
“Several other incidents with chapters or members have been brought to the attention of the headquarters staff and leaders, and each of those instances will be investigated for further action,” SAE said in a statement.