The national headquarters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon shuttered its Oklahoma University chapter over the weekend after a video emerged appearing to show members enthusiastically engaged in a racist chant.
“There will never be a nigger at SAE!” the formally-dressed members are seen chanting on a charter bus, followed by a reference to lynching. The video was first reported by The Daily Oklahoman after the paper received an anonymous tip.
Wow -- nobody could have predicted that something like this would have happened at a chapter of the only current fraternity founded in the antebellum South:
[SAE} was founded at the University of Alabama on March 9, 1856. Of all existing national social fraternities today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the only one founded in the South in slavery days.That's from Wikipedia, which tells us more:
The creed of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, The True Gentleman, must be memorized and recited by all prospective members....And how do True Gentlemen behave? Er...
The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.
—John Walter Wayland, The Baltimore Sun, 1899
Sigma Alpha Epsilon has had nine deaths linked to drinking, drugs and hazing since 2006, more than any other Greek organization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.... More than 100 chapters have been disciplined since 2007, with at least fifteen suspended or closed since 2010. A potential initiate to the SAE chapter at Salisbury University in Maryland alleged that he was beaten with a paddle, forced to drink alcohol to the point of losing consciousness and confined in a basement for nine hours without access to food, water or a bathroom while being subjected to music torture, an experience described as being "almost like Guantanamo Bay". The allegations were verified by a university investigation that lead to the suspension of the chapter on the grounds that it had violated Salisbury policies on alcohol, hazing, and threats or acts of violence....Many of those facts come from a Bloomberg story called "Deadliest Frat’s Icy ‘Torture’ of Pledges Evokes Tarantino Films." (Left out of the Wikipedia summary: the fact that the pledge was compelled to recite the True Gentleman creed while he "was naked, except for his underwear, and standing in a trash can filled waist-deep with ice," as "members sprayed him with a hose and poured buckets of water over his head.")
As a result of these incidents, student members pay among the highest rates for liability insurance of any fraternity.... In March 2014 JPMorgan Chase stopped managing an investment account of SAE's charitable foundation, with bad publicity from hazing as the likely cause.
SAE abandoned pledging last year -- and, in fact, here's an upbeat message from SAE's president (or Eminent Supreme Archon -- yes, the frat likes fancy-schmancy titles of that nature) about how well things are going. It was just posted the last 24 hours, in commemoration of the fraternity's Founder's Day, which happens to be today:
... What a difference a year makes. This time last year, SAE was at a critical and pivotal time in its history. We were plagued with negative press due to rampant hazing across the realm. We had lost too many lives of dynamic undergraduate brothers. Universities were not wanting SAEs on their campuses. Expansion efforts were becoming more and more difficult, and we were paying the highest insurance premiums in the Greek world, and in our history as an organization. As a result of the implementation of the True Gentleman Experience, SAE has truly risen from the ashes. We are once again not only thriving, but living the ideals of both the True Gentlaman and our ritual....Oops.
In addition to the dangerous hazing, there have the usual parties, like the Clemson SAE chapter's gang-themed "Clemson Cripmas."
And a similar one at Baylor in 2006 ("several pictures ... captured students wearing bandanas and holding 40-ounce bottles in brown paper during the party. One of the pictures depicted a student who covered herself in bronzer in imitation of a black person. The party's theme, E-Dawg, refers to the name of a black, Seattle-based rap artist and a nickname for SAE fraternity members").
But remember: University life in America is monolithically left-wing. That's what conservatives tell us all the time, so it must be true, right?