Washington state university investigating frat over slurs: newspaper

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2015 9:07 AM

(Reuters) - University of Washington officials are investigating claims by black students that members of a fraternity embroiled in a racist video saga in Oklahoma hurled slurs at them during a protest, the Seattle Times reported.

The Times said the university was investigating allegations that members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity called African Americans "apes" and harassed protesters taking part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration as they marched passed the frat house last month.

On Monday, the University of Oklahoma closed its SAE chapter after a video showing students chanting racist phrases was uploaded online. The school also expelled two students, who have since apologized, for playing a leading role in the incident.

University of Washington's SAE president, Michael Hickey, said in a statement to the Times that the comments were made by non-members who were standing near the house.

"We pride ourselves in the diversity of our chapter membership and racism is against the moral ethics of our local and national organization," Hickey said in the statement.

Zane Suarez, one of the student marchers, told the Times he had initially been angered by the incident before letting it go, but was then compelled to report it after seeing the video of the Oklahoma fraternity members.

"It is concerning when you see something like this come up," Suarez told the Times.

The school's Black Student Union has asked for an apology from the fraternity and said they were seeking discipline against the group, the Times reported.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Doina Chiacu)