03/16/2015 05:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Americans Think Closing SAE Frat Over Racist Song Was The Right Call


Most Americans think the University of Oklahoma was right to shut down its chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and expel two of the fraternity members over racist behavior, according to a new YouGov poll.

The national SAE organization closed the OU chapter last week after video surfaced of white frat members leading others in a racist song that joked about lynching black men. Following SAE's decision, the university closed the fraternity house, which the school owns, and ordered the students living there to vacate the property.

Fifty-nine percent of poll respondents said OU made the correct call in closing the frat house, while 15 percent said it was the wrong decision and 27 percent weren't sure. Older Americans and Democrats tended to be more supportive of the university than those ages 18-29, Republicans and independents.

OU also said last week that it would expel two students for their "leadership role" in the singing. Most Americans agreed with this decision as well, with 57 percent saying it was the right move to 17 percent saying it was wrong. Twenty-six percent were not sure.

Those ages 18 to 29 were less likely (45 percent) to say expelling the two students was right. But as with the decision to shutter the frat house, they were also more likely (39 percent) to say they just weren't sure if it was right or wrong.

Commentators have suggested that OU, a public university, violated the students' First Amendment rights by expelling them for racist speech.

The YouGov poll surveyed 997 people between March 11 and March 13, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

oklahoma racist

Two men carry speakers from the closed SAE frat house to a moving truck on March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)



Racism At SAE's Oklahoma Chapter