University of Oklahoma Fraternity Closed After Racist Video Surfaces

On the heels of thousands of Americans marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a video surfaced of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity members at the University of Oklahoma reciting a racist chant that further proves that our work as a nation is far from done.

The 10 second video was posted anonymously on Youtube on Sunday and quickly made its way around the web, as the group of college students were recorded singing racist lyrics to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It. Instead of singing the tune’s original lyrics, the video shows the students chanting, “There will never be a ni**** in SAE. There will never be a ni**** in SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me. There will never be a ni**** in SAE.”

Following the publishing of the video, hundreds of University of Oklahoma students and faculty protested against the fraternity’s racist actions Monday morning, with President David Boren releasing a statement on behalf of the university.

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“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourself Sooners,” said Boren. “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.”

Sunday night, the fraternity’s national organization closed the University of Oklahoma chapter and suspended its members, stating that the actions of one group of people is not a reflection of the entire organization.

“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. 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,” the national organization said in a statement.

Several members of the organization moved out of the fraternity house overnight with the assistance of campus police. The national SAE chapter says they hope one day in the future they can start a new campus chapter that will exemplify the beliefs of the organization.

Watch a clip of the students chanting the racist tune below and hear University of Oklahoma linebacker Eric Stalker speak out against the video with Don Lemon on CNN.