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University of Oklahoma

(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)




A day after President Barack Obama’s historic speech in Selma, Alabama about the progress of race in America, a University of Oklahoma fraternity chapter has been closed after a video emerged of members singing a racist jingle.

The national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization closed the chapter effective immediately on Sunday night and the university’s president David Boren gave the members until midnight to leave campus, according to various media reports. Members left the house overnight with the protection of campus police, KOCO Oklahoma reports.

According to the Washington Post:

The 10-second video features men said to be members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). Though the words are not all intelligible, the chant appears to be: “There will never be a n—r SAE/There will never be a n—r SAE/You can hang ‘em from a tree, but it will never start with me/There will never be a n—r SAE.”


The video, recorded Saturday, was posted Sunday on YouTube by @OU_Unheard, an alliance of Black students on campus who say it’s time to end the silence about systemic racism. The students participated in a march on Monday morning with the Twitter hashtag, #NeverBeaNiggerInSAE.

The fraternity’s national chapter posted an apology on its website.

We apologize for the unacceptable and racist behavior of the individuals in the video, and we are disgusted that any member would act in such a way. Furthermore, we are embarrassed by this video and offer our empathy not only to anyone outside the organization who is offended but also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.

President Obama spoke on Saturday at the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, which changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement. He noted the nation’s progress in race relations and just how far we still have to go.

This incident, sadly, proves his point.


UPDATE: Monday, March 9, 2015 11:30 AM EST

A second video of the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon singing a racist chant has surfaced, according to

The video, seen above in an Instagram post, shows the members singing the chant full of references to lynchings and the n-word, but in the new angle, a member jumps up, waving his hand to stop the person recording.

Brad Cohen, the president Sigma Alpha Epsilon, tweeted his reaction to the chant: