Fallout Continues After OU Racist Video Made Public

Monday, March 9th 2015, 5:42 pm
By: Karl Torp

At the OU Sigma Alpha Epilson house Monday, members packed up their belongings, and any and all traces of the fraternity they were members of just 24 hours earlier. 

The video that sent them packing showed a racist chant recording by cell phone this past weekend and it brought swift punishment for OU.

“It's time we send messages that are very strong and very clear,” said OU President David Boren.

During two campus news conferences, OU's Boren made it clear the SAE house is closing. Members were told they have until midnight to move out.

“As far as I'm concerned, (the fraternity) won't be back as long as I'm President at the university,” Boren told News 9. 

3/9/2015 Related Story: President Boren: OU Has Zero Tolerance For Racism

SAE's national office officially pulled the fraternity charter Sunday night.

As of Monday evening, all members including those seen and heard on the video remained OU students, something President Boren said he's looking to change.

“Would I be happy if they left the university and were no longer students? You bet ya [sic]. We don't have room for racists and bigots.”

Boren wasted no time with a punishment. “I don't have much sympathy. They'll have to find a roof for themselves. We don't plan to help.”

A tougher penalty maybe on the way, Boren said.

For the students seen and heard taking part in the racial slur filled video that surfaced Sunday online, Boren said the student code does not permit discrimination. “Under the civil rights law, it may be possible for us to take action against certain individuals,” Boren explained.

The President said those actions include trying see if some of the students broke the student code, outlawing discrimination, and therefore could be subject to expulsion.

The president admitted that part of the investigation could prove tricky, because the chanting, as reprehensible as it sounds, could be interrupted as free speech.

Keith Gaddie, a faculty member, attended one of Monday's news conferences.

“If they can find particular individuals in that fraternity who were ring leaders and perpetrators of this and were creating a hostile environment then action might be taken. And that's what the investigation has to determine,” Gaddie said.

The shocking video, with a clearly heard racial slur, in the presence of both SAE members and their dates, surfaced Sunday.

“There is zero tolerance for this type of racists and bigoted behavior,” OU President Boren said.

But even before Boren's swift action, the wheels were already turning at Sigma Alpha Epsilon's national headquarters. 

3/9/2015 Related Story: University Of Oklahoma Fraternity Shut Down Over Racist Video

“This was the right thing to do. There no tolerance for that type of behavior,” said Brandon Weghorst, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

SAE national pulled the fraternity's charter late Sunday and has spent all day Monday defending the organization to the rest of the country, including their official songs.

"We had seen some posts in social media where people were led to believe that this is an official sanctioned SAE song, that's absolutely not true. There is nothing in our songbook. Never been anything in our songbook like this," Weghorst said.

The moving trucks were spotted at the SAE House on campus Monday.

In a statement issued Sunday, the SAE's national office said it hopes to one day re-establish an SAE chapter at OU.

But President Boren made it clear; the national office shouldn't be holding their breath.