The College Level Racism


Kevin Lam

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity from University of Oklahoma is in hot water since a 10-second video was posted on YouTube, showing that several members, led by a white student, were singing a racist chant – the specific lyrics videotaped – “You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n***** at SAE.” The deans and the president of the university issued statements right after the video went viral across social and international media, saying the school’s administration was shocked and publicly criticized the frat’s members for their racist and hateful chant. The administration reassured the public that it was not what the University of Oklahoma has taught its students.

SAE is one of the oldest national fraternity groups in the United States, according to the introduction on its own website.  SAE has the mission of the promoting the highest standard of friendship. With 237 chapters and colonies with approximately 15,000 collegiate members and 200,000 living alumni, their creed is known as “The True Gentleman.”  The SAE national office also issued a statement calling the behavior “despicable and unacceptable.” It is also said in the statement that SAE will be hiring a Director of Diversity & Inclusion on an executive level.  A new confidential hotline 1-844-ALRT-SAE (1-844-257-8723) will also be established for students to report inappropriate, offensive, or illegal behaviors.

Even though the members have identified themselves and publicly apologized for their “disgusting” act, the school board cut ties with the Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The SAE national office also issued a statement condemning the racist chant and shut down the University of Oklahoma SAE Fraternity. The office also believed that those members most likely learned the racist chant while attending a national leadership conference about four years ago. Such six-day leadership conferences are held annually. While participants attended social events most of the time, there were occasions that attendees had personal social time and the office believed that was when the song was being shared. However, the office also reiterated that their investigation to date shows, “no evidence the song was widely shared across the broader organization.” Ending the statement, it restated its universal value for equality.

Nonetheless, the investigation also found that alcohol was readily available at the fraternity house and dozens of high school students had been invited to visit and exposed to the racist song. The houses and chapters have been linked to at least six deaths in the past eight years from excessive drinking, hazing or related violence.

Two students who led the song were expelled and about 25 students were disciplined. Duke University is investigating a report of someone singing the “SAE chant” at its campus, an official said on Friday. Sigma Alpha Epsilon created a Q&A section on its website including some of the most frequently asked questions including its current school’s demographic and future plans to prevent akin incidents.

Racism still exists, and it is undermining all Americans. New York is a huge melting pot, known for its diverse cultures and races. Thanks to the indefatigable volunteering parties, FDR’s annual Multicultural Show was successfully held March 28. It perfectly exemplifies how students from different corners of the world could gather together, with joy, respect, and most importantly, manifesting the determination of creating an equal world.

Getting to the nitty-gritty, how do we deal with racism? Face it. Admit that the United States of America is not impeccable – the world is flawed, but there is a large population of people willing to prove that equality is priceless. Everybody is born with dignity and their own universal rights – so why the hatred?  While it is 2015, we still have a ways to go.  Not all of America is like FDR.