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Sigma Alpha Epsilon, University of Oklahoma

March 2015
University of Oklahoma (Public college or university)
Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Identity of Speakers

  • Levi Pettit and Parker Rice
    Student
    Other

    Levi Pettit and Parker Rice were members of University of Oklahoma's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Resources

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration not protective of speech
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

In March of 2015, two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma were expelled for leading a racist song during a social event. A video recorded three days earlier had shown members chanting a song about not allowing black students to join the fraternity while on the way to a formal event in celebration of the organization’s Founder’s Day. The song also made references to lynching and racial segregation. Following the incident, the organization’s national headquarters immediately closed the University’s chapter. OU president David Boren expelled the students on the grounds that they had “created a hostile learning environment”, a nod to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. In response to President Boren’s actions, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a statement claiming that it was unconstitutional to expel the fraternity members for their speech. On March 13th, fraternity alumni hired a civil rights attorney to review the legal issues surrounding the chapter’s suspension, though no official action was taken. The chapter remains closed and there has been no announcement of a planned return.