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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

COLUMN: A bigoted act caught on tape

Greek life’s reputation got a little more battered this week when a video posted to YouTube on Sunday depicted University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members chanting ?racial slurs.

The 10-second video features several alleged Sigma Alpha Epsilon members chanting, “There will never be a n***** SAE. You can hang ‘em from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me, there will never be a n***** SAE.”

According to KOCO News in Oklahoma, the national SAE organization closed the chapter late Sunday night, and two of the students responsible were expelled by the university for their role in the video.

Oklahoma University was right to expel these students for their despicable actions.

These men do not represent what it means to be a part of a greek organization.

On Morning morning, Oklahoma President David Boren released a statement in which he said those that have misused their freedom of speech are “disgraceful.”

“You have violated all that we stand for,” Boren said. “Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots. Real Sooners treat all people with respect.”

Boren’s statement went on to note the severing of ties between SAE and the university. “We will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue,” he said.

“There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

Knowing the National SAE organization took it upon themselves to suspend the chapter for no shorter than four years is what I see to be a reflection of ?humanity and decency.

Because of a few brothers’ careless actions, an entire chapter has been removed from Oklahoma’s campus, and it’s not to ?return in the near future.

Nationals had the opportunity to simply deactivate those students from the chapter and leave the school to decide academic consequences, but instead, an example was made out of the entire house by removing them altogether, which I believe was the right decision.

As a member of the greek community at IU, I understand how situations like this unfortunately reflect poorly on all greek chapters.

It’s all too common for the reckless actions of one chapter to suggest the intent of the majority.

Although a few bigoted and inconsiderate men decided to sink the reputation of their chapter on Oklahoma’s campus, I still believe greek life serves as a positive outlet for people to give back to their communities and be surrounded by other diverse and supportive chapters.

Take, for instance, the passing of Theta Phi Alpha sister Amanda Ludwig this past weekend.

Although the majority of greek members were unable to know what an effect she had made in the short time she was in her chapter, the community is coming together tonight for a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to an individual taken from us way too soon.

That, to me, is what greek life is all about — supporting each other for our differences, praising each other for our accomplishments and being there for support ?during tough times.

And it’s certainly not about putting others down or excluding them altogether just because of ?differences such as race.

I am proud of Oklahoma for addressing these racist actions with such poise and professionalism. One can hope both greek chapters and otherwise will finally learn the severity of speaking recklessly and start accepting others for their ?differences.

snvanden@indiana.edu

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