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The events of this past week have hit the OU community hard, especially us Greeks. We were shocked and appalled by the actions of SAE, just like everyone else. Almost as shocking as the video, however, has been the reaction. Yes, the chant clearly indicated that things need to change, particularly with the chapter involved, but all Greeks are now being treated as guilty by association. Guilty until proven innocent. Racist until proven otherwise.
The media has done an incredible job reporting on the events at OU over the past few days, but, unfortunately, there is one important aspect of the story that is not receiving coverage: the effects of this week on the Greek community.
Just one day before the video came out, OU students, mostly Greek, raised $561,268.15 for the Children’s Miracle Network. This was the type of thing we were known for, but nine seconds changed everything. In a matter of seconds, a few people’s actions on a bus, however horrific, tarnished the reputation of an entire fraternity and the Greek community as a whole. It’s ridiculous to think that the actions of a few members, of what was the most exclusive fraternity on campus, now seemingly represent everyone.
Now we live in constant fear. Every time we step foot outside, we are subject to ridicule and judgment. We have been threatened with violence, and violence has occurred. Every day we are under attack.
Cars with letters are vandalized, people are jumping Greeks, houses are being vandalized, and cyber attacks on Greeks and their organizations have taken place as well. OU is our home, and we are no longer comfortable here. In our own homes, we do not feel safe. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk to class alone due to the actions of a few bad eggs simply because you may be a member of a Greek organization. We are no longer trusted by our fellow students. Dirty looks are shot our way as we walk campus. We are treated like we are all bigots.
SAE has been vandalized and attacked, but other fraternities are suffering for their actions as well. Sig Ep has received the brunt of these attacks, as they were SAE’s neighbors, and they have similar letters. Their house, members, and cars have all been attacked by people who thought they were attacking SAE. This is a completely different and completely innocent fraternity we’re talking about. Those guys did nothing; they aren’t bigots, yet they are being treated like bigots. Every fraternity on campus is now subject to the general sentiment that we are all evil racists.
Worst of all, there’s no real way to reach out and change that perception. At least not yet. We are left to sit and watch as the media and popular opinion turns on us more and more by the day.
Sororities have also suffered in the wake of the now infamous video. One sorority’s headquarters suspended several members due to an Instagram post from last year that featured girls wearing rap t-shirts on MLK day. The girl from the first chanting video, who can clearly be seen not participating, is a member of another sorority. Several of her sisters have been harassed by protestors, simply because a girl from their sorority was there. Tri Delt has suffered the most out of any sorority. A Tri Delt recorded the first chanting video, and, as a result, Tri Delt has been under investigation for their involvement. For exposing the video, a girl’s entire sorority is being treated like they chanted along with SAE. Tri Delts are encouraged not to walk alone, or use the front door of their own house, due to fear of attacks. Sororities are being harassed on campus just as much as fraternities.
The school as a whole has even come under physical attack. Sunday night, around 3:30am, the power grid for the dorms was taken down. For several hours, thousands of freshmen students were literally in the dark. The only information the police would give us was that we needed to lock ourselves in our rooms and stay in groups.
Safety is a genuine concern for Greeks on campus. Police protection is required, not just for SAEs, but for the community as a whole. More police than ever are patrolling around Greek housing. People are afraid to walk alone at night on what used to be some of the nicest streets in Norman. My fraternity has taken measures to ensure the safety of our members, holdovers, and candidates. We are not permitted to wear letters for fear of being targeted. We are heavily encouraged not to speak to the media. We have also been encouraged to take the letters off of our cars, to remove letters from Twitter or Instagram bios, and to speak only in private Facebook/GroupMe groups.
People are afraid, and we as a community have come closer together than ever before, but we do not have a voice.
We are not bigots; those people are gone. We stand by and alongside people of every race. We are not the bad guys; we have become victims of the chant just like everyone else. It is my hope that one day OU Greeks will once again be known for raising money for charity, having exceptional grades, and respecting everyone equally. .