Oklahoma Frat Members Learned Racist Chant While On NATIONAL LEADERSHIP Cruise
The University of Oklahoma announced Friday its investigation into a racist song sung by members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity had determined frat members learned the song while on an SAE leadership cruise and that the song is a notable part of the fraternity’s national culture.
President David Boren said the school had interviewed more than 160 people in an effort to trace the origins of the song, which declares “There will never be a nigger SAE” to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It.” Based on those interviews, the college believes that Oklahoma’s SAE members learned the song while attending an SAE leadership cruise four years ago, and then brought it back to their local chapter, where it was regularly taught to new members. (RELATED: Oklahoma Frat Shut Down After Racist Video Leaks)
The song, Boren said, was “widely known and informally shared” among people on the leadership cruise, though it did not appear to be officially taught by the national organization.
The claim is a big blow to SAE, which had responded to the video’s leak by immediately derecognizing its OU chapter. OU’s assertions suggest the racist chant may be widely known to members across the country.
Boren said he has sent a separate letter to SAE’s national leadership, asking them what efforts they have taken to discover how widely the song is known and discourage its use.
OU also announced about 25 additional students will be punished for the role they played in a racist song that was caught on video earlier this month. These new punishments are in addition to two students who were summarily expelled earlier this month. (RELATED: Oklahoma Could Be Making A Huge Mistake With Its Expulsions)
What students are being punished and how severe their punishments are is currently unclear, but no additional students are being expelled. The school said that for some students the punishment is merely community service coupled with mandatory sensitivity training. (RELATED: Oklahoma: Tough On Racism, Weak On Assault, Burglary)
Several civil liberties advocates have questioned the constitutionality of OU punishing students over a song. The closed SAE chapter has hired an attorney and is exploring a possible lawsuit.
Boren said that OU will be undertaking additional measures in the near future to respond to the turmoil created by the song, including campus-wide cultural sensitivity training and the hiring of a new vice president in charge of diversity.
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