NORMAN, OK – Even with the national chapter shutting the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at the University of Oklahoma, the school president said the university’s affiliation with the fraternity is permanently done as a campus group called for the expulsion of fraternity members.
The members have until midnight Tuesday to get their things out of the house, university President David Boren said in a Monday afternoon news conference.
“The house will be closed, and as far as I’m concerned, they won’t be back,” he said, adding that the university is exploring what actions it can take against individual fraternity members.
A Saturday video showing party-bound fraternity members on a bus chanting a racial epithet found its way anonymously to the school newspaper and a campus organization, which both promptly publicized the nine-second clip.
The students on the bus clap and pump their fists as they boisterously chant, “There will never be a ni**** SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me.”
By Sunday night, SAE’s national chapter had suspended the University of Oklahoma members and threatened lifelong suspensions for anyone responsible for the chant, but Boren took it a step further.
President declares ‘zero tolerance’
First, he appeared at a campus rally and told students over a bullhorn, “I have a message for those who have misused their freedom of speech in this way. My message to them is: You’re disgraceful. You have violated every principle that this university stands for.”
n remarks to a reporter from KOKH-TV, he said the SAEs were no more on the Norman campus.
“All of our ties to that organization on our campus are severed, and I’ve given them till midnight tomorrow night to get their things out of the fraternity house. After that time, it will be totally closed and they’ll have to make special arrangements to even get their belongings out of the house,” he told KOKH. “And as they take their belongings out of the house, I hope they reflect on what they’ve done.”
In a statement that mirrored what he told students earlier, Boren said the fraternity members’ behavior is not indicative of what University of Oklahoma students, nicknamed Sooners, represent.
“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,” he wrote.
At his news conference, he added that those responsible “don’t deserve to be called Sooners. They’re misusing our name.”