National Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) wants all to know it had abolutely nothing to do with the now defunct, local chapter’s hiring of criminal defense attorney, Stephen Jones. This disconnect appears to be a fast-moving story, in the wrong direction, for Jones.
Yesterday Jones reported the local Board of Directors at OU’s (former) SAE chapter asked him to investigate certain legal matters that may impact the chapter as a result of the racist chant video, including the first amendment. Jones was clear he has not yet been asked to initiate litigation against anyone or OU. As yet.
Jones said he has been hired to talk to OU President David Boren to find the best resolution. He did not say the obvious. It’s over for SAE. Jones was hired after the national chapter cut the OU chapter loose. But more interesting? Is the personal history between Jones and Boren. And it’s some kind of story, in which Boren won out in the end.
Friday Morning: Stephen Jones in the news with another, no-win case.
Woke to the surprising news the deservedly reviled fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s (SAE) chapter of the University of Oklahoma (OU) hired attorney Stephen Jones, to determine whether their civil rights had been abridged or violated. SAE Alums apparently felt they have been exploited.
The International Business Times reported Jones was hired after an emergency meeting was held with SAE’s chapter and alumni.
Word is the Oklahoma SAE is also considering suing OU President David Boren, personally.
“were being tarred and feathered.”
My thought is Jones said this specifically at his client’s urgings, because Jones is too classy to reference the aftermath of privileged white punks exposing themselves as the racist, bigots they are, to what was once done to one-time slaves.
Also, having worked with Jones on a prior, ugly, and politically motivated indictment a few years back, I do know he’s very smart. Unlike his newest clients, who are, apparently, stupid beyond words.
Also, Jones only agreed to look over documents provided. I mention this considering the recent statement from the SAE founding body provided the world. Which it seems the local, former Chapter, missed. Or has reading comprehension issues.
“Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s leadership has started proceedings for all suspended members of the University of Oklahoma chapter to expel them from the national organization, which will revoke their membership permanently. At the same time, the headquarters has learned of the expulsion of two chapter members from the university, which we support. Although university officials have not communicated directly with headquarters staff or leadership, we believe that these men must be held responsible for their actions.
In separate statements, the two men who have been expelled from the university have mentioned that the song was “taught to us.” However, as has been maintained in previous statements, the national fraternity does not teach such a racist, hateful chant, and this chant is not part of any education or training. Our investigation has found very likely that the men learned the song from fellow chapter members, which reiterates why Sigma Alpha Epsilon did not hesitate to close the chapter completely because of the culture that may have been fostered in the group.
The headquarters also learned of a video released of the former house mother who made racist, mocking remarks to imitate a rap song. Her behavior, just as the chapter members’ behavior, is unacceptable, especially given her role as a peer and adviser. She was not an employee of the national organization but rather an employee of the local house corporation, a group of advisers who served voluntarily on a board to oversee the physical house property. Following the closure, the alumni board made sure to provide her with accommodations and assisted the chapter’s chef, an African-American male, with securing another employment opportunity.
The University of Oklahoma held the lease for the chapter house, serving as the landlords. Any directive to vacate the property, as well as any accommodations that may have been arranged for the vacated members, came from administrators. Alumni from the University of Oklahoma chapter are saddened and heartbroken not only about the incident but about the personal significance of the chapter house as it relates to their memories of their college experience.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s leadership has engaged with members of the African-American community and others who have reached out to the organization to build a partnership that will address the need for additional training, awareness and resources on cultural and diversity issues. The fraternity is dedicated to making sure that its members are model citizens and leaders as part of their membership experience but also to understanding how SAE can improve its relationship with men and women of all ethnicities, heritages and nationalities.
We teach our members to serve as role models in their communities and to live up to our creed, “The True Gentleman.” When members fail to do so, we will not hesitate to take corrective actions or to impose sanctions. Any behavior that is not aligned with the conduct we expect is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is bystander behavior of members who fail to intervene when they witness conduct that deviates from our beliefs.
Several other incidents with chapters or members have been brought to the attention of the headquarters staff and leaders, and each of those instances will be investigated for further action. Some of the allegations refer to incidents, which Sigma Alpha Epsilon acknowledges, from more than 20 years ago. Although we cannot change the past, we can learn from the present and alter the future.
With regard to alumni who serve on the chapter’s house corporation board and who served as advisers, these gentlemen are appalled by the video and the song that was sung in it. They do not condone offensive and hateful behavior and will hold accountable the men who participated in the incident.
Am thinking if there was such a thing as “Felony stupid” the founding body might want to sue the Oklahoma Chapter. 🙂
Earlier I’d tweeted my surprise Stephen took the case. (When working with Stephen on the prior case I read his book “Others Unknown” defending Timothy McVeigh. As the page marks may indicate, it’s an absorbing, page-turning awful look at how government works behind-the-scenes.)
Returning to the latest SAE debacle, Twitter reacted immediately. Including my new Twitter friend Paul Knox, who while musing about “due process” wanted to make clear he was not in any way supportive of the racist goons from Norman.
Last, I confess to giggling while watching the local TV station report on Jones’ latest case. Prior to the report the station ran an ad for an Oklahoma personal injury attorney that was just a shade shorter the actual coverage of the SAE case, itself.
Ah, advertising! 🙂