Two former Louisiana Tech students who tried to join Sigma Alpha Epsilon — the fraternity whose Oklahoma University chapter was caught on video singing a racist chant — say that the lynching-themed rhyme was taught to them by fraternity brothers in that state, and that they heard it more than a dozen times during their experience with the fraternity in 2010 and 2011.
“La. Tech didn’t make up the chant. It’s been going on for quite a while,” said the anonymous source.
“There will never be a n****r SAE,” says the rhyme, “there will never be a n****r SAE. You can hang ’em from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n****r SAE.”
Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, the members of the Oklahoma University chapter who were caught on tape leading the chant have been identified and expelled from school.
Now, other former pledges and members are weighing in from chapters around the country saying that they are familiar with the song and that it is a regular part of the SAE experience.
“I was an SAE at a university in Texas from 2000-2004. The exact same chant was often used then. This is not isolated,” wrote a user on the social medium Twitter.
Furthermore, according to the L.A. Times, the song may be common to other white fraternities.
SAE’s national headquarters flatly denied that the song is a part of the fraternity’s culture, saying in a statement, “the national fraternity does not teach such a racist, hateful chant, and this chant is not part of any education or training. Our investigation has found very likely that the [University of Oklahoma] men learned the song from fellow chapter members, which reiterates why Sigma Alpha Epsilon did not hesitate to close the chapter completely because of the culture that may have been fostered in the group.”
However, BuzzFeed’s Tasneem Nashrulla laid out a litany of racist incidents involving SAE:
The fraternity has a history of alleged racist behavior at various chapters. Most recently, the SAE chapter at Clemson University in South Carolina was suspended indefinitely by the national organization after its members threw a gangster-themed “Clemson Cripmas” party where fraternity members wore bandanas, oversize T-shirts, and low-waist pants and flashed gang signs, Reuters reported. The Crips are an African-American street gang founded in Los Angeles in the ’60s. The chapter reportedly had no black members.
In 2013, the fraternity’s chapter at Washington University in St. Louis was suspended temporarily when pledges allegedly rapped racial slurs to African-American students.
In 2006, the fraternity suspended two of its members at the University of Memphis after they were accused of using racial slurs against a pledge’s black girlfriend. The members allegedly harassed the woman by calling her n***** and told the pledge not to bring her back to the house.
Earlier this week, video surfaced of the Oklahoma University SAE chapter’s house mother Beauton Gilbow saying the N-word and giggling while rapper Trinidad James’ hit “All Gold Everything” played in the background.