Not new, not unique

Two University of Oklahoma students who led the racist chant have been expelled.

Two University of Oklahoma students were expelled Tuesday for their alleged “leadership role” in a racist chant by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members, a decision that President David Boren says speaks to his school’s “zero tolerance” policy for such “threatening racist behavior.”

The expulsions come days after the video surfaced and hours before the midnight Tuesday deadline that SAE members were given to pack their bags and get out of their house.

It was only a nine-second clip, but the fallout has been disastrous.

The national chapter of SAE shuttered the house at OU, and Boren said the university’s affiliation with the fraternity is permanently done.

“I was not only shocked and disappointed but disgusted by the outright display of racism displayed in the video,”said Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president. “SAE is a diverse organization, and we have zero tolerance for racism or any bad behavior.”

Is that right? A fraternity? A fraternity with zero tolerance for any bad behavior? I’m sorry, I don’t believe that for a second.

Boren said he’s done with SAE at Oklahoma.

“The house will be closed, and as far as I’m concerned, they won’t be back,” he said at a Monday news conference. The university also is exploring what actions it can take against individual fraternity members.

“There seems to be a culture in some of these fraternities, and it just has to be snuffed out,” Boren told CNN.

I continue to wonder if sexism and misogyny are as sharply rebuked as racism.

The decision to shutter the fraternity was an easy one for Boren.

“If we’re ever going to snuff this out in the whole country, let alone on college campuses, we’re going to have to have zero tolerance and we have to act right away,” the former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator said.

“This is not a place that wants racists or bigots on our campus or will tolerate it, so I think you have to send a very strong signal.”

That’s good. I hope the same applies to sexism.

Unheard co-director Chelsea Davis said a racist mentality is not new to campus and is not confined to one fraternity.

“Unfortunately, it took them getting caught on video camera for this to happen, but this is definitely not something that is brand-new. It’s not something that’s only seen within this one organization,” she said.

It would be nice if adolescents could find other, better ways to rebel.


  1. Deepak Shetty says

    I continue to wonder if sexism and misogyny are as sharply rebuked as racism.
    Ha ha good one.

  2. Jenora Feuer says

    Is that right? A fraternity? A fraternity with zero tolerance for any bad behavior? I’m sorry, I don’t believe that for a second.

    Oh, the national chapters have most fraternities have all sorts of rules about alcohol and behavior that they expect the people running local houses to sign off on. I’m sure ‘zero tolerance for bad behavior’ is at least strongly implied by those rules.

    Of course, the purpose of those rules is not that they will actually be followed. The frat culture doesn’t work that way. Instead the purpose of the rules is to allow the national chapter to take any local house that gets caught breaking the rules and throw them under the bus by pointing to the rules and the fact that the local chapter broke them, while tut-tutting about ‘isolated incidents’. Exactly as the national president is doing here.

  3. Stan Murch says

    Boren’s “zero tolerance” for constitutionally protected speech is far more concerning than the SAE video.

  4. says

    constitutionally protected speech

    There are codes of behavior a person knowingly agrees to both as a student and as a Greek pledge. Your “freeze peach” complaint is raw bullshit. But nice try, bullyboy.

  5. Stan Murch says

    OU is a public university bound by the First Amendment. It can’t legally punish students for expression outside of class, even for speech the school finds offensive, see Papish v. Board of Curators. OU also can’t have “codes of behavior” that restrict speech, see Iota Xi v. George Mason Univ.

  6. johnthedrunkard says

    I don’t think these twits behavior can be described as ‘rebelling.’

    It is odd that a culture riddled with day-to-day racism has a simultaneous ‘zero tolerance’ pose on the subject.

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