OU SAE’s racist chants tarnish the Greek community

By on March 19, 2015

By Aryn Gribler–

Recently a YouTube video surfaced capturing multiple members of the University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter cheering and clapping to a racist chant that eerily resembles the tune “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

After watching the video, I realize the racism that surrounds the video isn’t the only thing wrong with all of this. First and foremost, anyone with any common sense would know that making a racist chant and including the racial slurs and your fraternity name probably isn’t the smartest thing.

Especially since the fraternity’s National Headquarters preaches the following creed and conduct code:

“The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies…who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe. – John Walter Wayland.” 

At any rate, the “gentlemen” of OU disregarded the rights and feelings of others. Looking beyond the actions of these students and how inappropriate their actions are, there has to be the presence of learned behavior. Chants of racism aren’t  passed down overnight.

The statement by one student who led the chant said he was sorry and the chant was “taught” to them. Even though this chant may have originated within their own chapter, it’s sad for the African American alumni and community that have to deal with the repercussions of this senseless act.

The house chef, who happens to be African American, recently told local news, “We used to have so much fun, now it’s all gone.” Unfortunately for the previous chef, he is now jobless after working for the fraternity for 14 years.

OU President David Boren said, “I have emphasized that there is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma. I hope the entire nation will join us in having zero tolerance of such racism when it raises its ugly head in other situations across our country.”

Members involved in the incident may have their SAE membership revoked by the national headquarters. This doesn’t even include the punishment of having their chapter kicked off campus by the University of Oklahoma and dissolved by Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters.

Ultimately, this incident is just another reason to throw stones at the Greek community. It’s the dumb and reckless choices by an immature few that cause all the good work that Greek life does for the community to be washed away in an instant.

For instance, what about U of L’s SAE chapter? On Jan. 28, SAE hosted Buzz for a Cure. More than 50 brothers shaved their heads in support for a cure. They raised more than $1,300 for Stephanie Virgin, the wife of brother Greg Virgin who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer this past fall.

Sadly, any example of dedicated work within the community can­ be unraveled by the stupid acts of a select few. Yet the Greek community will bounce back and continue to set examples that maybe these previous SAE members from Oklahoma should’ve been focusing on from pledge day.


About Nick Amon

Nick Amon is the Opinion Editor for The Louisville Cardinal, all views and opinions are of his own. If you have an opinion of your own that you'd like to see in The Cardinal, email him at [email protected]

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