Last week, tensions rose at the University of Oklahoma when a video of the school’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing a racist chant hit the web. Within days, the university expelled two students involved and permanently shut down the fraternity.
University of Oklahoma’s President Boren wrote in a statement:
“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.
“Effective immediately, all ties and affiliations between this University and the local SAE chapter are hereby severed. I direct that the house be closed and that members will remove their personal belongings from the house by midnight tomorrow. Those needing to make special arrangements for possessions shall contact the Dean of Students.
“All of us will redouble our efforts to create the strongest sense of family and community. We vow that we will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”
Unfortunately, not only did the video cause harm to the members of the fraternity, the house’s devoted chef, Howard Dixon has lost his job because of the situation. Luckily, on Sunday (March 8th), an alum to the University and the fraternity, Blake Burkhart, created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for Dixon. Sharing the reason behind the project, Burkhart wrote:
“Those of you who lived in the house, undoubtedly came to love Howard and his infectious smile (if not his chili dogs). He was always there to chat with you and more importantly, to take care of Mom B.
“Well, that man is going to walk up to the SAE house tomorrow morning and hear that he no longer has a job. He is going to learn who has been working for. And through some cruel twist of fate, he has to lose the job that he has held for over a decade. He is going to lose his job because of a bus full of racist kids.
“You know and I know that this isn’t the house we lived in. I’m positive Howard knows this too. I ask you to give some money to make sure he lands on his feet.”
Within only a few days, Howard’s campaign has raised $43,654 of its $50,000. Those looking to give to the initiative have until April 7th.
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