Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Racist Chant

Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Racist Chant

Mary Elizabeth Hagan, Reporter

The Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was caught on camera  chanting degrading terms about African Americans. The video features members of the fraternity chanting: “There will never be a n****r in SAE/There will never be a n****r in SAE/ You can hang ‘em from a tree, but it will never start with me/ There will never be a n****r in SAE.” The SAE national organization declared that the charter of the fraternity will be pulled and the members suspended.
In addition to the members’ suspension, the university is orchestrating an investigation into the video. The president of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, informed the press of such an investigation: “We are investigating to determine if the video involved OU students. If OU students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly. If the reports are true, the chapter will no longer remain on campus. This behavior is responsible and contrary to all of our values.”
This is not the first time SAE has gotten in trouble for racism. Past include: mock celebrations of MLK Day at Baylor and the University of Cincinnati and Washington University in St. Louis’s chapter members singing racist slurs to African American students.
This case has caught the attention of many distinguished people across the nation one of which is Will Ferrell. Ferrell was in a fraternity himself, the Delta Tau Delta chapter of the University of Southern California. He strongly believes that the values of fraternity life have changed over the years and suggests they all be shut down. In an interview with the New York Times, Ferrell said, “The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the [Greek] system all together, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary.” In his day, he said that fraternities were more about an upbeat attitude than playing politics. He continues to say, “It was just about having fun. But I think it’s an interesting dilemma for universities these days.”
One of the members of the Oklahoma chapter of SAE, Levi Pettit, was accused of participating in the chant. He spoke at an event held by a leading black senator of Oklahoma, Anastasia Pittman. Pittman, chairman of the Oklahoma Black Caucus, held an even at Fairview Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Pettit’s parents have already issued an apology on their son’s behalf. Another leading member in the scandal, Parker Rice, had also issued a public apology to the press but has not communicated further.