Remember Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity accused of singing about lynching Black folks at the University of Oklahoma? Well, their frat brothers at Yale University are on the hot seat after several students accused members of the fraternity of turning away people of color at last weekend’s Halloween party because they wanted to admit “white girls only.”
Sofia Petros-Gouin, a student at Columbia University, was visiting a friend at Yale when she heard a SAE member tell a group of dark-skinned students, “No, we’re only looking for white girls.”
“I was shocked,” Petros-Gouin told the Washington Post. “I was disgusted.”
Grant Mueller, president of the Yale chapter of SAE denied the claims in an interview with the university’s newspaper.
“Obviously I was shocked and flabbergasted [at the idea] that anyone in SAE would even have these words come from their mouths,” Mueller said. “It’s just kind of upsetting for me because we try to be so incredibly accepting and take pride in our diversity.”
Despite his denials, however, a Facebook post by Neema Githere, a student at the university, indicated incidents like this have happened at SAE parties in the past.
I’d just like to take a moment to give a shoutout to the member of Yale’s SAE chapter who turned away a group of girls from their party last night, explaining that admittance was on a “White Girls Only” basis; and a belated shoutout to the SAE member who turned me and my friends away for the same reason last year.
Githere’s post has gotten dozens of comments, which have included other people of color chiming in to say they’ve encountered problems at SAE parties as well.
One student, Ivonne Gonzalez, said her friends were turned away last year.
“Reminds me of the time they asked me and a group of other Latino, predominantly Mexican, friends for our passports when we tried to go to their shitty party a little over a year ago,” Gonzales wrote. “So sorry this shit is still happening!”
Brandon Weghorst, a spokesman for SAE’s national headquarters, said the fraternity is investigating the claims, but reiterated the organization’s commitment to diversity.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters has been investigating the allegation since it was first brought to our attention. Based on preliminary information we have received, law-enforcement officers received a noise complaint and visited the house where members held a social event over the weekend, asking the men to stop admitting guests and to clear the steps and sidewalk. The brothers complied with the direction given to them and halted any additional attendance by guests in order to avoid a citation.
“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.
Despite the pushback by local and national SAE officials, Akinyi Ochieng, a Yale student, said the group should use this controversy as a teachable moment.
“Instead of denying the experiences of people of color such as myself or Neema [Githere], I would hope that the brothers of SAE could say instead, ‘From our knowledge, this did not happen, but to make sure that this never happens, we will make it clear that there is no room for hate or discrimination in our house,” Ochieng said.