University of Oklahoma severs ties with frat after racist chant
Published 8:36 am Tuesday, March 10, 2015
NORMAN, Okla. — The president of the University of Oklahoma severed the school’s ties with a national fraternity on Monday and ordered that its on-campus house be shuttered after several members took part in a racist chant caught on video.
President David Boren said he was sickened and couldn’t eat or sleep after learning about the video Sunday afternoon. The video, which was posted online, shows several people on a bus participating in a chant that included a racial slur, referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
The Oklahoma football team decided to protest rather than practice on Monday. At the team’s indoor practice facility, coach Bob Stoops led the way as players, joined by athletic director Joe Castiglione, walked arm-in-arm, wearing black. Meanwhile, a top high school recruit withdrew his commitment to the university after seeing the video.
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Boren attended a pre-dawn rally organized by students and lambasted the fraternity members as “disgraceful” and called their behavior “reprehensible.” He said the university was looking into a range of punishment, including expulsion.
“This is not who we are,” Boren said at a midday news conference. “I’d be glad if they left. I might even pay the bus fare for them.”
National leaders of Sigma Alpha Epsilon said late Sunday that its investigation confirmed members took part in the chant and announced it would close the local chapter. The national group said it was “embarrassed” by the “unacceptable and racist” behavior.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the efforts by the university and the national fraternity to repudiate the racist comments were “an appropriate step.”
Boren said fraternity members have until midnight Tuesday to remove their belongings from the fraternity house. He said the fraternity was “not totally forthcoming,” and he was still trying to find out who was on the bus so the school could consider disciplinary actions.