A Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother at Yale is being accused of turning away students of color during a Halloween party over the weekend, claiming to have a “white girls only” policy in place.
Yale sophomore Neema Githere wrote on her Facebook page that she and a group of her friends had been denied entrance to the party by a fraternity brother who told them, “No, we’re only looking for white girls.” She added that the same thing had happened to her at the same fraternity house the previous year.
A number of students commented on the post with their own stories of harassment by the fraternity through humiliation or verbal abuse.
Columbia freshman Sofia Petros-Gouin had been visiting friends at Yale that weekend and said she had witnessed the event. She said she was “shocked” and “disgusted” over the behavior displayed by the fraternity members, writes Susan Svrluga for The Washington Post.
However, SAE chapter president Grant Mueller has vehemently denied the accusations, maintaining the position that the fraternity takes pride in its diversity, reports Hannah Parry for The Daily Mail.
An unnamed fraternity member who had been outside the party that night said people were being turned away after police arrived, responding to a noise complaint, and told the members not to let anyone else inside. He said as they were beginning to turn people away, one woman screamed out, “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?” He said the situation was uncomfortable, because the member being yelled at was African-American, and the others working the door were Portuguese and Costa Rican.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters.
“The brothers complied with the direction given to them and halted any additional attendance by guests in order to avoid a citation,” a spokesman for the fraternity said, adding that SAE had ‘zero tolerance’ for anyone breaching its values. “Our chapter at Yale University is comprised of a diverse group of students, and similarly, the social event included a diverse number of attendees. However, we will continue to investigate this allegation to determine additional information.”
This is not the first time a SAE chapter has been cited for issues of racism.
The University of Oklahoma chapter was shut down earlier this year after members had been caught on video repeating the n-word and praising the act of lynching. The video was uploaded to YouTube and showed members singing there “will never be an n-word” in their fraternity to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”
Brad Cohen, the Eminent Supreme Archon of the organization, said the footage sickened him, and that the song was not part of any SAE traditions, despite being seemingly well-known by the brothers featured on the video.
As a result, the national chapter announced new initiatives implemented in an effort to ensure that racist behavior would not be accepted by any of its chapters across the country.