Members of the University of Minnesota’s greek community are expressing disappointment in their peers after a video surfaced Sunday showing University of Oklahoma fraternity members using racial slurs.
Some Minnesota greek leaders say events like the one in Oklahoma paint greek life everywhere in a negative light.
Multicultural Greek Council President Brandon Bogan said he thinks incidents like the one at Sigma Alpha Epsilon in Oklahoma could deter people from joining greek organizations.
“When things like this happen, then that’s what people remember,” he said. “It’s something that affects all of our community.”
The 10-second video shows SAE members on a bus chanting “there will never be a [n—–] in SAE” and making references to lynching.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren severed the school’s ties with the local chapter and requested that members move out of the fraternity house immediately.
Two students were identified from the video and were expelled from the University of Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Program director for the University of Minnesota’s Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life Matt Levine said his office frequently talks with the school’s fraternity leaders to ensure their events and members’ behavior are appropriate.
Levine said the ongoing controversy in Oklahoma is “a terrible situation,” adding that the actions of members in Oklahoma aren’t representative of the fraternity experience.
“I’m heartbroken for the young men that share that affiliation on our campus because they didn’t sign on for those individual’s behaviors,” he said.
SAE’s national headquarters apologized for the students’ conduct in a statement.
“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,” the statement read.
The University of Minnesota’s SAE chapter president Timothy Carr said in an email that the incident doesn’t represent the entire organization.
“[We] are disappointed that the values and ideals of so many can be diminished by the sad actions of so few,” he said in an email.
Interfraternity Council President JD Braun said his organization encourages greek affiliates to discuss issues like racism. He said IFC members haven’t decided what next steps they’ll take, if any.
SAE was criticized last spring for incidents involving hazing, alcohol, drugs and member deaths at multiple chapters. The more than 100 incidents forced the national headquarters to replace the pledging process with an expedited add/drop process called the “True Gentleman Experience.”