After a viral video showed Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members from the University of Oklahoma chanting racial slurs, the president of UT’s SAE chapter released a statement asserting the University's chapter is not associated with the chant.
In video that surfaced Sunday, SAE members use multiple anti-black slurs and reference lynching, singing, “You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me.”
In the hours following the release of the video, OU President David Boren severed ties between OU and the SAE chapter and expelled two students who, he said, played a “leadership role” in singing the chant. Tuesday, President William Powers Jr. announced the dean of students would look into whether UT’s SAE chapter has traditionally used a similar chant.
"Rumors also are circulating that a chant similar to the one at OU has been traditional in the UT chapter of SAE," Powers said in a statement. "Our dean of students said Monday she is looking into this matter as is standard practice in such cases."
Luke Cone, UT’s SAE chapter president, said he neither, nor any active member of the fraternity, had heard of the chant prior to the release of the video.
“Personally, I am deeply offended by the behavior, and I can speak on the behalf of my fraternity brothers that we are all profoundly distressed about the vindictive words that were used in it,” Cone said in the statement.
Rumors on social media regarding UT’s SAE chapter began after an anonymous Reddit comment surfaced alleging the fraternity members often sang a chant with similar lyrics. The comment, posted last month, was not authenticated. Later, another user on Twitter sent a message addressed to Boren that read, “I was an SAE at a university in Texas from 2000-2004. The exact same chant was often used then. This is not isolated.” The tweet has since been deleted.
Cone said he did not believe there was truth to the posts' claims.
“Please note that the twitter post reads ‘at a university in Texas’ rather than ‘at The University of Texas,’” Cone said. “I believe that people assumed or misread that he was speaking directly about our chapter at UT.”