University of Oklahoma

Photo Credit: Sarah Montgomery | Daily Texan Staff

An investigation conducted by the dean of students office found no connection between UT’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and a racist chant the University of Oklahoma’s SAE chapter was punished for singing last month.

A video of members of the OU SAE chapter singing a chant that included lynching references and anti-Black slurs went nationally viral in March. Three weeks ago, an OU investigation found the students learned the chant on a cruise sponsored by SAE’s national organization, its use was likely widespread.

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said an investigation into UT’s SAE chapter, launched in the wake of the video, found the chapter was not connected to the song.  

“Following the events involving the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma, our office was made aware of online rumors of similar behavior at our local chapter of SAE,” Reagins-Lilly said in a statement. “Our review of these statements included contacting current organization leadership and speaking with alumni of different periods, who all stated no knowledge of the chant and that such behavior had no place in their organization.”

Reagans-Lily said the investigation was complete.

“At this time, our office has received no official complaints or reports of this behavior and found no evidence in our review,” she said.

Report: OU chant is widespread, likely originated at national SAE event

The racist chant Sigma Alpha Epsilon members at the University of Oklahoma sang on video was not restricted to the OU chapter, and is likely widespread throughout many chapters of the fraternity, according to the results of an OU investigation released Friday.

“[The chant] was learned by chapter members on a national leadership cruise sponsored by the national organization of Sigma Alpha Epsilon,” the report, released after an OU investigation, said. “Over time, the chant was formalized in the local SAE chapter and was taught to pledges as part of the formal and informal pledgeship process."

Earlier this month, several members of the OU SAE chapter were captured on video singing about how black men would never be allowed to join SAE. The video, which also referenced lynching, immediately went viral. Less than a day after the video’s release, OU President David Boren severed ties between the university and the fraternity, ordered the fraternity house shut down and expelled two members he said had a “leadership role” in singing the chant.

The video’s release also prompted an investigation at UT, after rumors spread online that UT’s SAE chapter taught its members similar chants.

“Rumors also are circulating that a chant similar to the one at OU has been traditional in the UT chapter of SAE,” President William Powers Jr. said in a statement. “Our dean of students said Monday she is looking into this matter as is standard practice in such cases.”

So far, the University has not responded to the results of the OU investigation. The national SAE chapter released a statement confirming that the chant was likely taught during the national leadership cruise four years ago.

The leadership retreat lasts six days, and Executive Director Blaine Ayers said he assumed the chant was shared during a social gathering rather than one of the leadership seminars.

In a statement, Ayers said SAE’s internal investigation findings were similar to the conclusions from the OU investigation.

“We remain committed to identifying and rooting out racist behavior from SAE, and we are actively investigating all of our local organizations to determine whether there are issues in any other location,” Ayers said. “We intend to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and this will take time...but our investigation to date shows no evidence the song was widely shared across the broader organization.”

President of UT SAE chapter condemns OU fraternity video

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.”

OU fraternity members appear to sing racist chant, reference lynching in viral video

In a video that went viral Sunday evening, members of the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on camera chanting anti-black racial slurs.

In the 10-second video, members are seen and heard singing “There will never be a n****r SAE,” and “You can hang them from a tree, but they'll never sign with me.”

Within hours of the video surfacing, the fraternity’s national organization closed the chapter and suspended all members, according to a press release from Brandon Weghorst, associate executive director of communication for SAE.

“Those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently,” Weghorst said.

Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president, condemned the video on Twitter.

“I know I speak for all when I say I’m disgusted and shocked by the video involving our [SAE] chapter at Uof OK,” he wrote. “They will be dealt with.”

University officials said they are investigating the video to verify that OU students are involved, according to University president David Boren.

“If OU students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly,” Boren said in a statement. “This behavior is contrary to all of our values.”

The OU chapter of SAE is one of many fraternities that have been accused of racial insensitivity. Last month, Texas Fiji hosted a party guests said had a “border patrol” theme, where attendees wore construction gear, ponchos and sombreros. The Office of the Dean of Students launched an investigation into the event but found the party did not violate any University rules and would not result in any penalty for the fraternity, primarily because the party was held off campus. 

Last year, SAE chapters nation-wide announced they would eliminate pledging entirely. The national fraternity replaced pledgeship with a program called the "True Gentlemen Experience" with the goal of improving the educational and leadership experience of its members. Read more about the switch here.

The video of SAE members chanting is below. Warning: The clip contains graphic language and racial slurs.

For updates on this story, go to oudaily.com or follow The Oklahoma Daily on Twitter.

Have a news tip for The Daily Texan? Email us at news@dailytexanonline.com.

Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of the University of Texas’ friendly rivalry with the University of Oklahoma, the editorial boards of The Daily Texan and The Oklahoma Daily have exchanged editorials. The Red River Rivalry, or the Red River Showdown, as it is now officially known, is played every October in the neutral meeting ground of Dallas and is a time-honored tradition that brings out both the best and, some would say, worst in Texas and Oklahoma football fans. In anticipation of Saturday’s game, both editorials are running in Austin and Norman today. To read the editorial written by The Oklahoma Daily editorial board, click here.  

Regardless of the time you’re reading this, Texas still sucks.

We know Sooners are looking forward to watching the Longhorns flounder on the football field Saturday, much like their slow-moving, cud-chewing mascot Bevo, the sanctimonious cow. 

Besides, by the time Saturday rolls around, UT probably won’t have enough players on its roster to field a full team because head coach Charlie Strong will have kicked them all off.

You know what they say: Everything is bigger in Texas, including the football losses. Sure, we lost to TCU last week but at least we haven’t gotten destroyed two years in a row by an out-of-conference Brigham Young University team, including a near shut-out at home in September.

At this point, we aren’t sure the Longhorns fully know how to play football. For example, they screwed up the opening coin toss in their home loss to UCLA, one of the most fundamental skills for any football player. 

It’s almost too easy to poke fun at Texas this year. When UT’s own coach refers to the BYU loss as “… an embarrassment to this program, it’s an embarrassment to this university,” it makes our job a lot easier.

However, we have to thank UT quarterback Tyrone Swoopes for giving us the laugh of a lifetime by claiming he fully expects Texas to still make the playoffs this season. Swoopes, you have got to be kidding. But then again, a bloated sense of entitlement seems to be a prerequisite for being a Longhorn. 

UT’s 2-3 record puts it near the bottom of the Big 12, and the Longhorns’ only wins this season are over the University of Kansas — the running joke of our conference — and the University of North Texas. Granted, five of the top-10 ranked college football teams lost last weekend, but it’s still going to take near-perfection to earn one of the four coveted playoff spots, a far cry from UT’s losing record.

Really, Texas, it’s almost sad. UT has the richest athletic program in the country, but money clearly can’t buy a tradition of winning. Texas spent nearly $13 million and developed a literal task force to bring in Charlie Strong, and the team is still losing to nonconference opponents.

Strong is known as a no-nonsense authoritarian, and in a preseason speech to Texas high school football coaches, Strong said he planned to put the “T back in Texas.” In reality, this season UT seems to be putting the “T” back in tanking. Sorry Charlie, but some things, like UT football, are just beyond repair.

We aren’t worried about the Sooners cruising to a handy victory over UT on Saturday. The team in crimson and cream in Dallas on Saturday will be an entirely different beast than last year’s overconfident squad. Don’t believe us? During his time as OU’s head coach, Bob Stoops has never lost a revenge game.

Texans probably don’t know how to say OU running back Samaje Perine’s name now, but we doubt they’ll ever forget it after Saturday. We aren’t opposed to all of Texas’ traits, though. As the state sign commands, we’ll be sure to “drive friendly — the Texas way” right into the end zone over and over again. 

The only thing that could further cinch an OU victory would be if the game was played in Norman, but we understand Longhorns are too afraid to make that trip up north. Longhorn logic says the game is played in Dallas because the Lone Star State is better than Oklahoma, but we’re pretty sure it has everything to do with OU’s 87-5 winning home record under Stoops.

Not to mention, OU has this little thing called Sooner magic. Longhorns can doubt it all they want, but the Sooner faithful believe in their team no matter what. UT’s bandwagon fan base, on the other hand, is more flaky and fair-weather than tried and true. Don’t worry; OU fans will be enjoying Bevo burgers as Longhorn “fans” evacuate the Cotton Bowl en masse when the Sooners take the lead on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of the University of Texas’ friendly rivalry with the University of Oklahoma, the editorial boards of The Daily Texan and The Oklahoma Daily have exchanged editorials. The Red River Rivalry, or the Red River Showdown, as it is now officially known, is played every October in the neutral meeting ground of Dallas and is a time-honored tradition that brings out both the best and, some would say, worst in Texas and Oklahoma football fans. In anticipation of Saturday’s game, both editorials are running in Austin and Norman today. To view the editorial written by The Oklahoma Daily editorial board, click here

It’s that time of year already, the week when we pause to remember that there’s a rogue band of hill people roaming around on the other side of the Red River. 

Last year you came to Dallas undefeated and full of hope. We really thought you had the pieces to make a championship run. Your quarterback had a cool nickname, “Belldozer,” like some off-brand Transformer whose special power is throwing INTs. Your defensive backs were running around pretending they were sharks like some pee-wee soccer team. It was adorable.

But somehow we still managed to beat you. Even with his head-coaching death rattle, Mack Brown was able to hand your school its biggest embarrassment since the 2013 graduating class. 

We weren’t even really trying that hard. Seriously, the MVP was Case McCoy, who didn’t even joke about trying to go to the NFL. That’s right, this time last year you got schooled by a guy who we’re pretty sure is currently selling Cutco knives or something.

But really, are y’all even trying to keep us interested? Your fans can’t even get our hand gesture right. It’s sad looking over to the South End Zone halfway through the second quarter to see that your Hook ‘Em Horns is already drooping downward. And a little strange, since we always figured Sooner men would have exceptionally strong wrists. 

It’s like you’re losing focus. You already lost to TCU, probably because Trevor Knight was too busy sexting Katy Perry. At least we can enjoy her career for these last few days before she becomes an Okie, moves to Norman and starts hanging out at T. J. Maxx.

Now we’re not perfect, we know. We’ve taken our share of hits during a tough rebuilding year, though we’re optimistic. Sure, we lost to BYU, but they have God on their side. You guys just have the Devil, or “Barry Switzer,” whatever he’s calling himself nowadays.

Moving on, though, in light of your school’s refusal to live up to even the most modest of expectations, we’ve decided to go ahead and handicap this game ourselves. You may have noticed we’ve already kicked off several players, including former starters. Just in case that’s not enough, Coach Strong has promised that if we’re still winning at halftime he’ll pull Tyrone Swoopes and let Tony Romo play quarterback. If we go up by 14, he’ll let Big Tex start calling the plays. 

The times really are changing. Coach Strong has brought a new dawn on the 40 Acres. We’re proud to see him enforce his five core values: honesty, treating women with respect and no drugs, stealing or guns. Which means if he were your coach, he’d kick the Ruffnecks out of the program, but he’d have to do it respectfully.

But there is a fundamental difference between our two football programs. When two former Longhorn players were accused of sexaully assaulting a woman, Strong immediately kicked them off the team. After Dorial Green-Beckham and Joe Mixon were accused of battering young women, you gave them scholarships. Actually, it makes a lot more sense now why your local press was comparing Mixon to a young Adrian Peterson last spring.

Face it, your Standards and Compliance office is about as reliable as Sam Bradford’s knees. What do the signs read at the OU Practice Facility? Give us your poor, your tired, your felonious position players with remaining eligibility?

Regardless of your school’s moral code, or lack thereof, we still have a game to play on Saturday. Deep down, there’s a part of us that still feels like embarrassing you on national television. Guess old habits die hard.

We live in a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. From ISIS to the Russians, the news is full of troubling headlines and apocalyptic threats. Wait, sorry, you don’t follow the news, so let us contextualize. Imagine they were going to cancel “Mike and Molly.” Scary, right?

America needs some reassurance that there’s still some good in the world. America needs Texas to beat OU. 

Wait, you don’t think OU is awful? Well, not sure how best to explain this, but you are. We’d rather spend six hours stuck on the tarmac after a Delta flight than attend OU. Matthew McConaughey will actually convince someone to buy a Lincoln before you get us to believe your state isn’t a Roosevelt-era government works projects designed to attract and retain simpletons, like a fly trap, but with more half-finished GEDs. Oklahoma is what “Deliverance” would be like if it were set in a gas station bathroom.

Just how truly awful is Oklahoma? I-35 North is the only time we’ve ever muttered “Thank God” upon seeing a “Welcome to Kansas” sign.

Lastly, the Texas Department of Transportation has issued a warning that there may be delays this weekend because of highway construction, so be advised that OU still sucks.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

UT’s upcoming game against the University of Oklahoma, a rivalry long-recognized by UT fans as one of the fiercest face-offs in college football, has been named the nation’s most popular game this season by an Austin-based online ticket marketplace.

TicketCity Inc. released a list Friday ranking the UT’s Oct. 13 game against the Oklahoma Sooners as the most popular football game of the current season. The list uses a game’s individual ticket sales, prices, customer inquiries and searches on TicketCity.com to determine the rankings, which update each week. Despite the popularity of the matchup, UT-Austin officials said revenue for the University is greatly limited by the amount of seats available at the stadium, half of which belong to OU.

“We don’t have nearly as many tickets to sell for that game as we do for our home game, so the revenue isn’t as much,” Mark Harrison, assistant athletics director for ticket operations, said. “Each school gets just over 46,000 seats.”

Harrison said the match’s widespread popularity comes as no surprise to the University.

“OU and Texas are two of the traditional football powers, and most football fans consider this one a marquee matchup every year,” he said. “The great location and the Texas State Fair create a very unique atmosphere for college football and there is just a lot of excitement from our fans who always look forward to this game.”

Since the Longhorns and Sooners first met on the football field, the games have created what many consider one of the most prominent rivalries in college football history. Today, more than 92,000 people attend the game each year, filling up the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas to its maximum capacity.

Joaquin McHale, Texas Box Office sales associate, said Red River Rivalry passes available to football season ticket holders have been sold out since July 12.

“As far as students go, a little less than half of those who request a ticket are not able to get one,” McHale said. “It is definitely the most popular game out of all the Texas games, definitely the most demanded.”

Communication sciences and disorders freshman Noah Solis attended the game last year after buying his ticket four months in advance. He said the game’s excitement and unpredictability have led to its popularity.

“It has been around for so many years. When you really think of rivalries, the first one that comes to mind to any Texas fan is Oklahoma,” he said. “You think about the state of the fans that are involved from both sides and you just can’t help but get excited for the game.”

Printed on September 5, 2012 as: "Texas, Oklahoma game ranks nation's most popular for fall"

The UT System Board of Regents voted to give the UT-Austin president authority to negotiate entrance into another conference or to remain in the Big 12.

The decision was made over a special telephone meeting between the Board of Regents and current president William Powers Jr. The meeting is the beginning of many talks focused on the future of UT Austin football. The University of Oklahoma’s Board of Regents also gave OU’s president the authority to negotiate their position in the Big 12 or begin a move towards entrance into another football conference on Sept. 19.

“There’s been a great deal of movement concerning conference realignment,” Powers said.

Although legal issues concerning their contract with the Big 12 remain, Texas A&M University withdrew from the Big 12 in late August with plans to join the Southeastern Conference. This came as a response to the Longhorn Network, which A&M views as an unfair recruiting advantage for UT, according to the Associated Press.

Powers and UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds reportedly met with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in Los Angeles this past weekend, according to a New York Times article.

“We believe it would be helpful to be able to explore options,” Powers said. “Including continued participation in the Big 12 in the interest of our student athletes.”

According to the Big 12’s official website, UT has been a member of the Big 12 since its formation in 1994 when the conference began through a merger of the Big 8 conference with four Texas universities from the now-defunct Southwest Conference. Athletic competition within the conference began in 1996, with UT remaining a consistent football powerhouse in the conference, earning four national championship wins.

The Pac-12 will launch its own television networks in August 2012, according to the Associated Press. If UT applies for entrance into the Pac-12, the future of the Longhorn Network and how it will fit into the possible partnership could come into question.

The Board of Regents must ratify any change in conference membership. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, both part of the Big 12, are expected to apply for entrance to the Pac-12 if UT and OU make the move. 

Printed on September 20, 2011 as: Powers gains conference control