OU President: Racist chant learned on a national leadership cruise

University of Oklahoma President David Boren said an investigation revealed members of its Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter learned a racist chant while attending a national leadership cruise four years ago.

Boren said the fraternity leaders brought the chant back to OU and taught it to other members. Over time it was formalized, taught to pledges and it became part of the "institutionalized culture of the chapter."

Several high school students were also exposed to the chant while on the bus for the chapter's Founder's Day event.

OU has already severed ties with the local chapter, shuttered its house and ordered two students expelled because of the video. It referenced lynching and used a racial slur to describe how black students would never become members.

No additional students will be expelled, but others will be required to attend cultural sensitivity training and participate in community service.

Boren also plans to offer training to incoming students each semester and to send a letter to the SAE national organization about the problem.

"I would personally like to know the extent of the investigation and what they are going to do," he said.

The university's president said racism is not just a problem at the University of Oklahoma. It's an epidemic and it's happening all across the country.

"I don't know why it's happening, but I know what we can do in this country of ours…. We can stop it if all of us in our institutions and organizations we belong to and all of us as individuals say we have zero tolerance for racism in America. That's not who we are as an American people," Boren said.

He encouraged people to stand up for what's right when racism happens around them.

The national SAE chapter says it is investigating and remains committed to "rooting out racist behavior," but insists there's no evidence to show the chant is widespread among its 237 groups.


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