Our View: SAE chants not reflective of work done on our campus

KS Editors

Summary: After the leaked video of University of Oklahoma surfaced, many blamed the entire fraternity of SAE, but this blame is unwarranted and should not be applied to Kent State’s chapter — or other Greek organizations without cause.

We’ve seen it in the news before: A university’s fraternity or a sorority comes under fire for misconduct of some kind — due to its initiation processes, group parties or even how members act outside of the organization — and the character of the entire Greek system is questioned.

Most recently, the Internet went ablaze when a video surfaced of fraternity brothers in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma chanting racist lyrics to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” In a remarkably swift action — something we commend OU for — the university’s administration shut down the fraternity on campus and members were asked to leave the house effective immediately. Two leaders seen in the video have subsequently been expelled from the university as well.

So, yet again, a negative example likely affects the public perception of fraternities and sororities. While we understand how this general opinion can be formed, it’s also not fair to label all Greek life based on the actions of members of different fraternities and sororities. What’s worse, Kent State students may associate the Oklahoma chapter’s racist rendition of the song with our own chapter and question the conduct of our students.

Chances are, nobody from our SAE chapter has ever even talked to anyone from the Oklahoma chapter. If we wanted to visit the University of Oklahoma, we’d travel more than 1,000 miles from our main campus to theirs. Just because one bad branch of the SAE fraternity created a bad name for their brand doesn’t mean we should feed into the concept that all SAE members are racist. 

And beyond SAE, we shouldn’t view Greek life as a bad thing just because negative hazing, harassment and racism stories make headlines but charity work and member comradery does not. Even as a media source ourselves, we understand a certain slant against Greek life exists in our modern society. We contend that although there are stories that pop up with more frequency that hurt the Greek life image, we as students at Kent State can’t let it affect how we view our own organizations, particularly our own SAE chapter.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of The Kent Stater editorial board.