Fraternity responds to Oklahoma video, continues investigations

(PR NewsChannel) / March 10, 2015 / NORMAN, Oklahoma 

Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters ( has closed its Oklahoma Kappa chapter at the University of Oklahoma following the discovery of a video that contains racist and hateful language as a chant. In addition, all of the members have been suspended, and those members who are responsible for or involved in the incident will face having their membership privileges revoked permanently.

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. Our leadership acted swiftly to the video and closed the chapter within hours of learning about it. Preliminary findings from our investigation validated the involvement of chapter members from the University of Oklahoma in the video.

This type of racist behavior will not be tolerated and is not consistent with the values and morals of our fraternity. We have more than 15,000 collegiate members across the nation, and this incident should not reflect on other brothers because this type of hateful action is not what Sigma Alpha Epsilon stands for. This is absolutely not who we are. Sigma Alpha Epsilon is not a racist, sexist or bigoted fraternity. Not only have we provided education and training on these and other issues, we are working to make sure that discussions and awareness on these and other topics is at the forefront of our membership experience.

We teach our members to serve as role models in their communities and to live up to our creed, “The True Gentleman.” When members fail to do so, we will not hesitate to take corrective actions or to impose sanctions. Any behavior that is not aligned with the conduct we expect is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is bystander behavior of members who fail to intervene when they witness conduct that deviates from our beliefs.

“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. When we learned about this incident, I called an immediate board meeting, and we determined with no mental reservation whatsoever that this chapter needed to be closed immediately. I am proud of my fellow board members because we mean what we say.”

Several other incidents with chapters or members have been brought to the attention of the headquarters staff and leaders, and each of those instances will be investigated for further action. Some reports have alleged that the racist chant in the video is part of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon tradition, which is completely false. The fraternity has a number of songs that have been in existence for more than a century, but the chant is in no way endorsed by the organization nor part of any education whatsoever.

Alumni who serve on the chapter’s house corporation board and who served as advisers are appalled by the video and the song that was sung in it. They do not condone offensive and hateful behavior and will hold accountable the men who participated in the incident.

Although Sigma Alpha Epsilon regrets the closure, we believe members must be held responsible for their actions. We respect the decision of the University of Oklahoma President to ban the fraternity from campus and are sickened that our former chapter members involved in this incident have outraged the campus population and community.

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SOURCE:  Sigma Alpha Epsilon

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