UT Investigation

University of Texas investigating fraternity after rumors of racist chant

UT investigating fraternity after rumors of racist chant

University of Texas UT tower and fountain
President Bill Powers says UT is launching an investigation into allegations of racist chants at one fraternity. BirthRightEarth.org

KVUE — On Tuesday, two students were expelled from the University of Oklahoma after videos surfaced online of fraternity members participating in a racist chant. Now, University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers said he is addressing rumors that a similar chant exists in the UT chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity.

In a statement, Powers said the university dean of students is looking into the rumor.

Powers also addressed a photo of alleged Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity rules that have circulated online since 2007, but made a resurgence this week following the OU expulsion. "This ugly document ... was largely believed to be a hoax even then," said Powers in a statement. Powers did not say if the university was also looking into these rumors.

The president also mentioned a recent FIJI party which made headlines for its racist theme. After the party, students reported that attendees dressed in ponchos and sombreros. Some wore construction uniforms with Hispanic names written on them while others wore military uniforms, and one student who attended said the party's theme was "Border Patrol." Powers said the fraternity has apologized and "reached out to Latino groups." 

"The FIJIs and one Latino group collaborated on a recent day of service. Much work remains, but this is a positive start," said Powers. Students have petitioned that the fraternity be punished.

Powers called the party, as well as the recent incident at the University of Oklahoma, "hurtful" and said they "offended many."

"I deplore this behavior, which is contrary to the core values The University of Texas at Austin," Powers said.

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