Fraternity’s racist chant among its traditions, University of Oklahoma finds
On investigating a racist chant sung by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers on their way to an SAE Founders Day event, University of Oklahoma officials have concluded that members of the fraternity learned the words four years earlier at a leadership event hosted by SAE’s national headquarters.
The university found that the chant migrated to Oklahoma and had become “part of the institutionalized culture of the chapter” and its pledging process, implying that it was not a song belonging to a small number of people and instead was part of the fraternity’s recent traditions.
The university’s report also said that as part of the chapter’s typical recruitment process, a dozen high school students had been invited to the event on March 7 and had joined fraternity members on the bus, where the chant erupted. Many of the students were drinking before the event, the report claims.
David Boren, Oklahoma’s president, demanded answers from SAE’s national leaders in a letter dated Friday.
A video of the chant, which included slurs against blacks and a lynching reference, lit up social media and prompted a national debate about race relations and fraternity culture on campus.
The fraternity is one of the country’s largest, with some 15,000 members and 200,000 alumni.