This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a pivotal and tragic moment in civil rights history. Thousands of people gathered to commemorate the brutal encounter between police and civil rights protestors on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.
Yet sadly, this weekend we were also reminded ignorance has not died. On Sunday a video surfaced of members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members singing a racist chant.
As the event unfolded, Brad Cohen, the national president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, immediately launched an investigation and shed ties with the chapter. The Interfraternity Council launched its own investigation as well, with its president, Payne Parker, telling the The Oklahoma Daily on Sunday, March 8, it does not “tolerate any of the behavior shown in the video.”
Now the fraternity house has been shut down and the members kicked off campus.
In my experience, investigations and the like are usually pure rhetoric. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with OU President David Boren. He has issued a powerful statement, picked up here from Facebook, condemning racism, hatred and intolerance.
The statement reads, in part: “To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves “Sooners.” Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots. Real Sooners believe in equal opportunity. Real Sooners treat all people with respect. Real Sooners love each other and take care of each other like family members.
Read Boren’s complete statement here.
Keep up with the story as it unfolds here at the OU Daily, the university’s student newspaper.