March 10, 2015 / 2:00 PM / 4 years ago

University of Oklahoma may expel students for racist video

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - The University of Oklahoma is looking to suspend or expel students who were found singing a song filled with racial epithets, its president said on Tuesday.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is seen at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Heide Brandes

On Monday, the university closed the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, which was linked to a video of students singing the song, ordered its members to move out of fraternity’s house and labeled the actions of those involved “disgraceful.”

“If I’m allowed to, these students will face suspension or expulsion,” University President David Boren told CNN.

He said the school has no tolerance for racism and is examining what it can do under U.S. civil rights laws.

The 10-second video, which was posted online on Sunday, on was shot on a bus chartered for a date night by the fraternity. Students were seen chanting in unison, using offensive language referring to blacks and vowing never to admit them into the fraternity.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon members have been given until midnight on Tuesday to remove their belongings and vacate their house at the university.

A sorority that may have been involved in the date night, the Tri Delta group, said it was cooperating with the university’s investigation. Its house on campus has not faced any sanctions.

The controversy played out on social media on Tuesday with an online fundraising campaign launched for a black cook who lost her job because of the closure of the house. Meanwhile, another video made the rounds purportedly showing the fraternity’s white house mother using a racial slur.

William Bruce James II, one of the few black members of the Oklahoma fraternity who was at the university from 2001 to 2005, said the SAE house there has undergone a cultural change from the time he was a student.

“The guys in that video are not my brothers,” he told CNN. He said the never heard an inkling of the offending song when he was a student.

Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott

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