OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The fraternity connected to a racist chant caught on video at the University of Oklahoma last spring said Friday that members at five other chapters acknowledged hearing the chant over the last five years.
The Evanston, Illinois-based Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity would not release the names of the other chapters identified after an investigation launched last year, but each of those chapters was educated on diversity and inclusion, said SAE spokesman Brandon Weghorst.
"The organization had to create some level of amnesty to ensure honest and open dialogue and to maintain the integrity of the investigation," Weghorst said.
None of the members reported hearing the racist chant more recently than 2012, except for the incident at OU, according to the statement.
OU President David Boren said Friday in a statement he was pleased the national chapter of SAE is taking action to ensure an incident similar to what happened at OU would not occur again.
Two students at OU were expelled last spring after members were recorded taking part in a chant that referenced lynching and used a racial slur to describe how black students would never become members.
Boren moved quickly to condemn the episode in March. The university severed ties with the fraternity and instituted mandatory diversity courses for all freshmen and transfer students. About two dozen other students were ordered to perform community service and participate in diversity training.
The fraternity also took action to disband the local chapter.
The university plans to use the fraternity house as temporary office space for various university departments, said Boren spokesman Corbin Wallace.
Following the university's initial investigation in March, Boren said the school interviewed more than 160 people and discovered members of the OU chapter learned the chant during a national leadership cruise five years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration.
The fraternity announced in July it had hired Ashlee Canty as director of diversity and inclusion, a new position that would oversee efforts to enhance diversity. Canty, who is African-American, was also tasked to work with local chapters to develop a system for monitoring and reporting diversity statistics.
SAE began collecting racial and ethnic data in 2013. Blaine Ayers, executive director of SAE, reported last year approximately 3 percent of SAE's reporting members identified themselves as African-Americans and 20 percent identified themselves as non-white.
Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy contributed to this report from Oklahoma City.