Other Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapters Now Investigated for Rumored Racist Chants

The moves come after the University of Oklahoma expelled two students.

March 11, 2015, 12:17 PM

— -- Two separate investigations are underway into the alleged use of racist chants at other chapters of a national fraternity after an uproar over the University of Oklahoma chapter’s use of the offensive language.

The president of the University of Texas at Austin confirmed it is looking into “rumors” that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter there used the same song that led to the closure of the fraternity’s chapter at the University of Oklahoma.

Additionally, at least one other investigation is taking place in relation to another chapter of the fraternity and its members’ alleged use of the same chant, according to the fraternity’s national office in Evanston, Illinois.

Spokesman Brandon Weghorst would not identify the chapter except to say it is outside Texas.

The investigations come after the University of Oklahoma chapter of SAE was closed and two students were expelled from the school when a video surfaced of the members singing the racist chant on a party bus.

Now, Bill Powers, the president of UT-Austin, said the school is looking into the matter on his campus.

"Rumors that a chant similar to the one at OU has been traditional in the UT chapter of SAE," he wrote in the statement. "Our dean of students is looking into this matter."

Powers' statement also detailed previous "hurtful" incidents at a different, off-campus fraternity where some party guests dressed up "in costumes expressing racial stereotypes." It led to cultural education work and a day of community service with Latino groups.

Weghorst, the fraternity’s national spokesman, explained that the investigation at UT-Austin was prompted by a tweet from someone who said they attended “a university in Texas” from 2000 to 2004 and they sang the same chant at the time. The twitter user, who has now removed the tweet, did not specify which university he attended.

The UT-Austin SAE chapter president, Luke Cone, put out a statement denying that they ever used the chant, in which the students in Norman, Oklahoma, made reference to lynching and noted that African-Americans should not be allowed to join their chapter.

“First and foremost, I would like to clarify that we do not perform this chant or anything remotely close to it for that matter, nor had I, or any active member in our entire chapter, heard of the chant preceding the release of the video containing racial slurs,” Cone said in a statement provided to ABC News.

For their part, Weghorst said national SAE officials consider their UT-Austin investigation nearly finished and their primary concern is the other remaining active investigation at the as-yet unnamed school.

Separately, Louisiana Tech University in Ruston today issued a statement in response to a media report that a former student there recalled hearing a similar chant at an SAE party five years ago.

“Louisiana Tech University is unaware of this incident nor does it have any report of it having taken place in 2010," the school said. "This type of reprehensible and destructive behavior is not tolerated from anyone attending or associated with our institution. Louisiana Tech works diligently and with all members of our campus community to create an engaging culture and a safe environment, and we will fight to preserve that opportunity for all students, faculty, and staff.”

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