Hillary Clinton Discusses Personal Email Situation
Apple Apologizes for Outage

Oklahoma Students Expelled for Racist Chant

Students at the University of Oklahoma are paying the price for participating in a racist chant caught on video. Two students at Sigma Alpha Epsilon were expelled for "creating a hostile educational environment for others," and the university chapter was closed. (Read letter to students.)

Students seem to be chanting the following:

There will never be a n** at SAE
There will never be a n** at SAE
You can hang him from a tree
But he’ll never sign with me
There will never be a n** at SAE

Another video shows the chapter's house mother using the "N-word" repeatedly.

The national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon issued a statement, including the following:

"In separate statements, the two men who have been expelled from the university have mentioned that the song was 'taught to us.' However, as has been maintained in previous statements, the national fraternity does not teach such a racist, hateful chant, and this chant is not part of any education or training. Our investigation has found very likely that the men learned the song from fellow chapter members, which reiterates why Sigma Alpha Epsilon did not hesitate to close the chapter completely because of the culture that may have been fostered in the group."

The incident raises issues of "serious lack of mature oversight," according to a lawyer on another case against the fraternity. In 2011, a Cornell University African-American sophomore died following a hazing ritual at SAE. George Desdunes was blindfolded and tied up. He died of alcohol poisoning. Although the fraternity was cleared of criminal wrongdoing, there were other charges, and the case is being pursued in civil court.

Attorney Douglas Fierberg said,

"By allowing teenagers to make these decisions independent of adult guidance, you can end up with a chapter gone far awry with things like this, even injury and death. Many of these chapters insist on self-management. But it's that very thing that makes them far more riskier than any other organization in the entire nation."

Discussion Starters:

  • One SAE student and the parents of another wrote apologies. What else, if anything, should be done at this point?
  • A writer for the The Washington Post said the expulsions are unconstitutional, based on the First Amendment. Read the article and discuss your perspective.