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SAE investigating racist allegations at Louisiana Tech University

Published: Mar. 12, 2015 at 9:54 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2018 at 2:43 PM CDT
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RUSTON, LA (KSLA) - A candid moment of the University of Oklahoma's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, chanting a racist song, is sparking outrage across the nation.

Now, an investigation into racist allegations has spread to a university right here in the Arklatex.

Two Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapters in Louisiana and Texas are now being investigated following that racist rant from OU.

Less than a week after that SAE video from the University of Oklahoma surfaced, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at Louisiana Tech is being investigated for racist allegations.

That video shocked the nation. College students chanting a racist slur.

"Now I'm like oh that's a possibility that actually happened somewhere close to us," said Brittney Wells, a senior at Louisiana Tech University.

The national headquarters for SAE is investigating allegations of a similar chant at Louisiana Tech University.

A former student recently came forward saying he witnessed the incident back in 2010.

"That would shock me. I know that our Greeks do a lot of community service," said Wells.

The university first responded to the investigation Wednesday saying, "Louisiana Tech University is unaware of this incident nor does it have any report of it having taken place in 2010. This type of reprehensible and destructive behavior is not tolerated from anyone attending or associated with our institution."

Students, like Wells, agree.

"I've never heard a racial slur, I've never seen a group that isn't accepting," said Wells.

But Thursday, after asking more about the investigation, the university changed its tune, "immediately upon learning of the alleged 2010 incident in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Louisiana Tech, university administrators and advisors met with the current leadership of the SAE chapter to ensure this type of behavior is not taking place."

No one would answer any questions at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at Louisiana Tech.

Here are the full statements from Louisiana Tech University:

STATEMENT – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

"Louisiana Tech University is unaware of this incident nor does it have any report of it having taken place in 2010. 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."

STATEMENT – THURSDAY, March 12

"Immediately upon learning of the alleged 2010 incident in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Louisiana Tech, university administrators and advisors met with the current leadership of the SAE chapter to ensure this type of behavior is not taking place among the active SAE members at Louisiana Tech and to clearly reiterate the behavioral standards and personal conduct expectations that the university demands of all its student organizations and members, as representatives of Louisiana Tech University. Louisiana Tech University meets frequently with the leadership of all its student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, to ensure they understand the behavioral standards and personal conduct expectations of the institution.

In addition to oversight and the safeguard of institutional standards, Louisiana Tech ensures that student organizations and their members take part in annual sexual harassment and sensitivity trainings. The university also communicates regularly with chapter and club presidents in order to provide them with support for their service missions, but also to ensure they understand their responsibilities as representatives of their organizations as well as their university.

In the event there are behavioral issues, oversight groups such as the Student Organizations Committee and the Behavioral Standards Committee, that are comprised of Louisiana Tech faculty, staff, and student representatives, meet frequently to review reports and impose potential sanctions on student organizations and individuals for possible code of conduct violations. It should be clear that any report made by a student, faculty, or staff member of behavior that could be considered racially-insensitive or threatening is taken very seriously and is thoroughly investigated. Louisiana Tech has a zero-tolerance policy as it relates to these matters.

Despite these trainings, committees, and personal communications with student group leaders and members, Louisiana Tech cannot monitor all the activities taking place in every one of its student organizations. We feel that we have an effective and proactive system in place for communicating the behavioral standards and expectations that our university has for all its students and student organizations."

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