‘It’s like getting punched in the stomach,’ African-American alumnus of OU’s SAE chapter reacts to racist video

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DENVER – A fraternity at the University of Oklahoma has been suspended after video surfaced showing a busload of its members chanting racial slurs.

An African-American alumnus of OU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter is now reacting to what he saw.

“It’s like getting punched in the stomach,” Jonathon Davis, who was an active SAE member at OU from 1998 to 2002.

Davis, who now lives in the Denver area, recalls his time in the fraternity fondly.

“They were diverse—they had diverse socio-economic backgrounds, diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and you could really feel they were all truly friends and good people,” Davis said, adding that members during his time included Asians and Hispanics. “And that’s why I joined.”

When Davis saw the video, he was shocked.

He says that kind of behavior would never have been tolerated by the fraternity when he was a member.

“We did embrace diversity-and somewhere along the line, everything went off the rails,” Davis said.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren blasted the fraternity members, vowing SAE would never be allowed back on the campus while he is president.

“There is zero tolerance for this kind of racist and bigoted behavior,” Boren said. “That is why those young men will have to have their belongings out of that house by midnight tomorrow. And as they pack their bags, I hope they think long and hard about what they’ve done.”

Davis believes the university did the right thing in closing the fraternity.

He says he knows that his return visits to campus won’t include the fraternity house where he once lived.

“I think it’s sad that the option isn’t even there to go back and relive those memories-and that that house has turned into a symbol for modern day racism,” he said.

Boren says in addition to shutting down the fraternity, OU is also launching an investigation into the students involved.

Based on what that investigation finds, Boren said it is possible those students could be expelled for violating the student code of conduct.


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