US & Canada

Oklahoma racist chants 'disgraceful', says university

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Media captionPresident David Boren: "This has broken my heart"

The University of Oklahoma president has called students who took part in a videotaped racist chant "disgraceful", as he joined a pre-dawn campus rally.

"Real Sooners are not bigots," said David Boren, referring to the nickname for University of Oklahoma students.

The video, posted online by a black student group, showed fraternity members making racist chants on a bus.

The university's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has since been closed down and its members suspended.

The short clip shows people sitting on a coach bus chanting how the fraternity would never let in a black person, using a racial slur and referencing lynchings.

On Monday, students attended a rally against racism and in support of a black student group, Unheard.

Many placed post-it notes with messages of support on the organisation's door.

One student activist told CBS News: "We do not believe this is an isolated incident."

Mr Boren, a former governor of Oklahoma and former US senator, promised an investigation.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Students wore tape labelled with the name of the black student group
Image copyright AP
Image caption Students rallied on Monday morning against the video

"If OU students are involved, this behaviour will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly," he said.

He gave students residing in the house until midnight Tuesday (0500 GMT Wednesday) to remove their belongings.

The national fraternity released a statement on Sunday saying it was "embarrassed" by the "unacceptable and racist" behaviour.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon's national headquarters said the Oklahoma chapter had been closed.

The fraternity also criticised the bystanders for not intervening.

About 5% of the university's students are black, and the fraternity system is largely segregated.

Fraternities are social organisations that college students, usually male, are given the option to join at many universities across America. Sororities are a similar option for female students.

Many of the groups maintain houses on campus for members to live in, instead of dormitories or apartments.

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