NORMAN, Okla. — The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity said Thursday it was investigating racism allegations at universities in Louisiana and Texas after hearing that young men at two schools sang or knew of the same racist chant caught on video in Oklahoma last weekend.
Spokesman Brandon Weghorst said the chapter at the University of Texas at Austin was being “fully cooperative” and that a probe at Louisiana Tech in Ruston was in its early stages. He said no new allegations had been substantiated.
A nine-second video recorded last weekend caught members of the fraternity’s University of Oklahoma chapter singing a song that used a derogatory term for black people and referenced lynching. University president David Boren ordered the SAE house shuttered and expelled two students identified as ringleaders.
“We had no idea of this type of behavior was going on underground,” Weghorst said Thursday. “… It’s dangerous because — if we don’t know about it, we can’t stop it.”
The board of trustees and alumni of the University of Oklahoma’s SAE chapter released a statement Wednesday night acknowledging that the chant surfaced at the chapter “three to four years ago and was not immediately and totally stopped. It should have been.”
At the University of Texas in Austin, the president of the local SAE had previously issued a statement denying that his chapter had ever performed a similar chant. Luke Cone said he could “speak on the behalf of my fraternity brothers that we are all profoundly distressed” about the language in the video.
The SAE chapter at Louisiana Tech did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Thursday.