The disbanded Sigma Alpha Epsilon, or SAE, fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma have taken a step toward uniting again and possibly suing the university, but Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters have already taken leave of the issue and seemingly refuse to step back into the incident after it approved of the chapter’s disbandment.
Attorney Stephen Jones, who once represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, was hired by alumni of SAE to help get the fraternity back together, according to USA Today. Jones held a press conference on Friday afternoon to take public issue with the way fraternity members were treated after some of the fraternity’s members were seen singing a racist chant in a viral video.
The group was quickly evicted from their fraternity home by Oklahoma University President David Boren. Boren deemed the group as racist “bigots.” Two students were expelled from the school for their “leadership role” in singing the offensive song.
The fraternity members question whether their First Amendment rights were violated, specifically under due process. Jones claims the fraternity’s national office has an appeal process, and he has had talks with the office about it. He wants to include the university in talks about reinstating the SAE fraternity chapter at Oklahoma University.
However, SAE national headquarters issued a statement on its website claiming it stands steadfast in its decision to leave the chapter at Oklahoma University in ruin.
“Based on reports that have been brought to our attention, certain local alumni may have retained legal representation, but we cannot validate those reports nor are we involved in that matter. There has been no communication from the alumni advisory group to the national headquarters since the chapter closing. We support and respect the university administrators’ decision to revoke recognition of the group.”
According to the Huffington Post, Jones maintains the racist chant, which many SAE brothers across the nation claim they have heard in some form or another, is “inexcusable” but should not paint “members of the fraternity with a tar brush as ‘bigots’ or ‘racists.'”
Jones asserts the university has no right to censor speech, even if it is disgusting or hateful. Mentioning that suing the university is not completely off the table, the lawyer wants a meeting with the university and evicted SAE fraternity members to discuss what should happen next. Jones did not mention what the disbanded chapter specifically wanted from Oklahoma University.
[Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images News]