SAE activities suspended following racially offensive action involving pledges


Washington University and the organization’s national headquarters have suspended all Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity activities following an alleged racially offensive activity involving a large number of pledges Tuesday night.

A group of students involved in the pledge process for SAE fraternity reportedly used inflammatory language toward a group of black students eating dinner in Bear’s Den on Tuesday.

Three students seated at the table said that they and a group of black students were having a meal when the pledges in question took a photo of them. When confronted about the photo, the pledges said that they were photographing something behind the table.

A few minutes later, the pledges began rapping and in the process used the N-word.

In a statement to Student Life, the national headquarters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon wrote that it issued a cease-and-desist order to the University’s chapter, meaning that chapter activity has been suspended while an investigation is carried out.

“The reported and alleged actions of the members are not consistent with Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s values, and the national organization offers our apologies to both the campus and local communities. The headquarters staff is working closely with university officials on their investigation to determine more details. Sigma Alpha Epsilon expects its chapters to foster the development of gentlemen, scholars and leader,” the statement said.

Sophomore Fade Oluokun said he was at the Bear’s Den table when the incident occurred.

“I just thought it was weird that they took a picture, first of all. We asked them what they were taking a picture of and they said, ‘There was something behind you.’ I said, ‘Look, I don’t appreciate just without permission someone taking a photograph of me’ for whatever purposes they were doing it. Then they started doing the rap song, and they said the N-word,” he said.

According to an account from Kayla Webb, who said she was at the table, the pledge who used the N-word was reciting the lyrics to “B—— Ain’t S—” by Dr. Dre in slam poetry style.

Webb also wrote in her account that the pledge returned to the table later and apologized for his actions.

Student Life is reaching out to Lucy Morlan, coordinator of Student Involvement and Leadership for Greek Life; Lamley Lawson, president of the African Students Association; the Association of Black Students; David Wallace, coordinator of Greek Housing programs; and more student witnesses and participants.

If you have any additional information, please email [email protected] or reply in the comments.

Please check back for further updates on the story.

With reporting by Sahil Patel, Sadie Smeck and Michael Tabb.

UPDATED: 7:30 p.m.: Added information from statement from Kayla Webb.
UPDATED: 4:05 p.m.: Added statement from SAE national headquarters.
UPDATED: 2:42 p.m.: Headline and lede amended to clarify that activity involving pledges was not necessarily a pledge activity.
UPDATED: 2:16 p.m.: Sharon Stahl announced SAE activities have been suspended.
Initial post: 1:45 p.m.

  • Anonymous

    Asia for the Asians – Africa for the Africans – White countries for EVERYBODY!

    Ever heard of an “Anti-Racism” campaign targeted at Africans?
    Ever heard of an “Anti-Racism” campaign targeted at Asians?

    EVERY white country and ONLY white countries are told to deliberately “assimilate” their race and cultures into oblivion.

    “Anti-Racists” do not demand this of ANY non-white country.
    Massive 3rd world immigration and forced assimilation is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries.

    This is GENOCIDE as defined by international law.

    They SAY they are “Anti-Racist”. What they ARE is Anti-White

    Anti-Racist is a code word for Anti-White

    • concerned wash u student

      I take it that you must not be familiar with the terms Imperialism, British Empire, or Eurocentrism. I would encourage to do some research on how much of the planet has been invaded by European countries. For instance Britain is thought to have invaded 90% of the countries on the planet or do you think most countries speak English simply because they all think Britain is “cool”? When other ethnic groups start invading other continents, I will be right beside you with a bull horn declaring that Hawaiians (only as a theoretical example) need to stop taking over Africa and South America and deliberately assimilate their races and culture into oblivion because it is (if you) “getting real” :)

      • averagewhite

        well thank you for admitting that you wish to single out white children and force them into deliberate destruction aka Genocide.

        Now, as far as you claiming that white children deserve genocide for historical atrocities:

        African Moors, colonized, raped, mass murdered, stole land and enslaved Europeans for a thousand years. You wouldnt say that African children deserve genocide for this… after all you are Anti-White not Anti-African.

        The Japanese colonized thousands of islands, a gigantic chunk of Asia, and nearly exterminated indigenous tribes… all of which is RECENT history. You wouldn’t say that Japanese children deserve genocide because of this, after all you are Anti-White not Anti-Asian.

        What exactly do white children get out of “Anti-Racism” OTHER than being singled out and told they must be forced to become minorities in America and Europe? what do they get OTHER than Genocide?

        Anti-Racist is a codeword for Anti-White

        • a white dude

          You make an excellent point. White nations can invade, assimilate, rape, pillage, and slaughter 90% of the countries on the planet but when someone says that they need to sit down and let other cultures be themselves its white genocide even though the comment you replied to doesn’t call for that, it certainly shows how you feel about undermining European oppression. And as for the moor sacks of Spain yes it did happen but no one does genocide to culture, ethinticy, or individuality like europeans, which is why they should just let people be themselves. Everyone isn’t made for britches and cubicles, sorry bro.

  • My Two Cents

    My personal belief is that words have the power to change. That is obviously evident with the evolution of “f-word”; from an innocuous word, to the hate speech it has become today. On the other hand, I believe the “n-word” might be in the process of going in the reverse direction.

    With regards to people saying that white people never have the right to say the word. If that is honestly how you feel, then it should be a word than no one has the right to say. My friend, who is African-American, (No I am not saying that I am not racist because I have black friends. I am not racist because I believe in treating everyone equally.) once told me the most he was ever offended by the use of the “n-word” was when a fellow African-American said it to him with spite.

    Words have power by the meaning we engender in them. I don’t foresee the “n-word” leaving our vernacular anytime soon. I don’t believe micro-aggressions and prejudice ends by creating differences in two cultures. I don’t see why a white person cannot use the “n-word” with Killer Mike’s meaning.

    Creating walls and making differences between races does not end racism. All it does it make people feel different from those who don’t look like themselves, or come from the same place. Prejudice ends when people feel the same, feel like they are equals.

    I guess what I am trying to say, is that obviously African-Americans have faced great racism and prejudice in American history. But, by making a word a constant monument and reminded of this doesn’t end racism.
    With regards to the SAE situation, obviously it was insensitive and ignorant. It is clear we are not at a place where “my –n-word” is a term of love. However, that doesn’t mean that is not a place we want to reach. That is my two cents, thanks for taking the time to listen.

  • anon

    Well that escalated quickly.

  • anon

    We need Rembert Browne on the case.

  • Anonymous

    Princeton, I am a white woman who grew up in the South. I am also Jewish. I find it very offensive that you claim that “white people will never know what it’s like to be oppressed on the basis of race,” because I have been my entire life. In seventh grade, my locker at school was stuffed full of pieces of paper with swastikas and notes saying things like “go to hell” and “die Jew.” When I was 16 a swastika got keyed into my car along with a note threatening my life and the life of my family. The night our post-graduation lock in a girl in my class, as I entered the laser tag maze, looked up and said, “Oh good the Jew is here. It can be like the Holocaust all over again.” The first time I was told I was going to go to Hell was in Kindergarten – I didn’t even know what Hell was. I was teased, ostracized, targeted, and felt like an outsider most of my young life. I am not saying that I understand what the African American community has gone through, but please Princeton, before you go condemning every white person to a life of ignorance of the plight of racism, take a better look around you.

    • No Comparison

      Hi, I am sorry you had to go through this. However, today in America, you are still white. In this racially focused society, your white identity supersedes everything else. You are fine. You are not longer targeted. My ancestors were targeted. They weren’t told to go to hell, they were lynched. Our American government turned a blind eye as we could not go to the same schools as whites. Today, black people in America are still targeted. Have you heard of the industrial prison complex? Go check out The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. We have a very high Jewish population on our campus. I bet they were never asked to produce their ID to confirm that they go to this school. I bet no one begs to be allowed to use anti-semitic slurs. Stop with the comparisons. You don’t understand. You can’t. Just try to learn from this. Learn from Princeton. And all of you should be ashamed for condemning him.

      • anonymouse

        “My ancestors were targeted.”

        Hers were burned in ovens by the millions. Let’s not make this about ancestors.

        Walk a mile in her gartels, see if you don’t get some funny looks. Walk that mile in the wrong place, see if you don’t get a lot worse.

        Yeah yeah, women don’t wear gartels, but even so. Tell me you can’t spot a jewish person, and that they don’t get treated differently because of it in some places, and you’re telling me a joke. We’re not saying that there’s a direct equivalence between the situations, but there is ground to build an understanding.

      • Hmmm

        Wow, you found a way to dismiss a legitimate perspective on oppression just because it’s from a different perspective than yours. It doesn’t sound like her race superseded her religion. Save your condescending book recommendations. What our country has done to black people is atrocious, but that does not automatically give you a right to delegitimize another human beings experience, white or not. People can compare whatever they want. YOU even made comparisons in your post. By the way, if you had an open eye for history, Jews have been lynched as well.

        The big issue I see is that the people who are so offended are incapable of seeing a perspective that says “now that we know the facts, this isn’t offensive.” Those kids were being insensitive morons, but they weren’t trying to hurt anyone. Yes, it matters that they weren’t trying to hurt anyone. On the other hand, people should be respectful of your and Princeton’s opinion as long as you show respect and consideration to an opinion different from your rather than dismissing it for a lack of understanding.

      • Yes Comparison

        “You are no longer targeted?” That is offensive. How can you say that after she outlined several instances in which she WAS targeted. Just look at what she had to go through, and her ancestors have been victimized just as yours have.

      • Anonymous

        What I am about to say is not to delegitimize what happened in Bears Den last week, but I believe that the messages left on this thread, and the way we interact with one another, are the real problem.

        Instead of working together to end oppression, we are separating ourselves based on race, religion, gender, etc. We are pointing fingers at everyone who is different from us, and we are really stifling any possibility to make real reforms.

        I am a Jewish woman, and I have read The New Jim Crow, and I agree with a lot of what is written in it. I am white, and I am looking to become an African and African American Studies minor at WashU.

        And I am appalled at the way we are talking to each other. Attacking each other because we don’t know what it feels like to be this or that is not a beneficial dialogue.

        Yes, there are different forms of oppression. Racism and Anti-Semitism are treated differently in America, I do not deny that. They are distinct forms of oppression hat should not be compared. But they also should not be what separates us from one another. We have spent too long living in a segregated world. Isolating ourselves because no one else gets our oppression just continues such segregation.

        All forms of hatred hurt. All forms of oppression hurt. Using the N word AND the K word hurt. Why can’t we use that as fuel to work together? Why does it have to be about HOW they hurt?

        Why are we telling everyone who is unlike us on the surface that they “don’t understand.” Isn’t the whole point for everyone to be treated equally? To be treated like they matter? Why are we separating ourselves? Isn’t that what we have been fighting to end all along?

        We have to stop being so exclusive. We have to start realizing that an individual who is not black or not Jewish may be just as deeply invested in stopping oppression as someone who is black or Jewish.

        In the aftermath of last week’s incident (and all of the previous events that have not gotten nearly enough press,) we NEED to start to realize that this can no longer be about WHO is oppressed. It has to be about how to STOP it from happening again. And the best way to stop it is by working together.

        Take a look at this thread, and rather than reading into each person’s comments and picking them apart, realize that most (not all, but most) people who have written on here want to change things on campus. We realize there is a need for change, and we are ready and willing to make that change happen. But change begin to happen until we stop isolating ourselves and stop comparing ourselves.

        Let’s take our anger, take our frustration, take our sadness, take our disappointment, and actually begin to do something about it, together.

    • Princeton Hynes

      When someone divulges information such as those you just divulged, my idea of the productive response would be sincere compassion and trying to get a base understanding of what you went through. (Note I said “base understanding.”) I have, many times on this article, listed many things I and most of my fellow black people go through. Instead, I was met with “You haven’t even tried to get us to understand” or “[this group] has gone through this.” That is the crux of Whiteness. Deflection and diminution. I say slavery genocide, Jim Crow, and war on drugs below–and the response I got was “…well, I experienced [this atrocity].” This is not coincidental.

      As for what you went through, I want you to know that I am disgusted by all of that and everything you’ve gone through. I don’t condone the actions of the people who did it, and I should’ve listed anti-Semitism as one of the -isms/-phobias in my comments about oppressions.

      I am not Jewish and don’t know how that identity presents–because I have heard it referred to as a race and a religion. I think you’re trying to say you experience your oppression as functions of race, but I would think that everything you labeled is anti-Jewish. Not anti-white. See, because if you weren’t Jewish, but still identified as white, those things wouldn’t have happened. So my comment that white people don’t know racial oppression stands.

      • anonymouse

        Per your questions about race v religion, here:

        Most discrimination aimed against them is racially based, not founded on religious disagreements.

      • Anonymous

        Dude, if you are deeply offended by a kid who was quoting a rap song in the vicinity of black people and who then immediately apologized after, YOU MUST BE OFFENDED ALL OF THE TIME.

        The Oscars must have offended you when they made a “black hand” joke. Stand up comedians who comment on race must offend you. So many songs must disgust you. Like the person above said, the kids were being moronic and insensitive. They realized what they did and then apologized. People make much worse mistakes. Forgiveness is important.

        • Princeton Hynes

          We’re not talking about forgiveness, we’re talking about consequence.

          “Dude,” I am offended all the time. I’m offended by most songs on the radio today, I’m offended by most comedians’ treatment of race, I’m offended by television. But nothing like being offended by an anonymous person trying to make my being offended a bigger deal than the offenders’ refusal to stop offending.

      • Alum

        “This is the crux of Whiteness”

        You’re lump everybody with light skin together and proceeding to make sweeping negative generalizations about them.

        You ought to take a step back and look in the mirror, because what you just did is racist.

        • Princeton Hynes

          I posted this link already, but since you seem to have missed it:

          I said Whiteness, not White Skin. I’ll clarify that for you.

          And, once again, your dictionary definitions of racism mean nothing to me. The dictionary is historically and contemporaneously biased toward the dominant classes. As are textbooks. So even if what I had said was a generalization about white skin, which it wasn’t, whenever you call a black person racist, all I can do is laugh. Maybe prejudiced. But racist? Ha.

  • A Guy

    Princeton, your response to the threads on here only perpetuate the issue… Telling people to go to hell and that they’ll never understand what its like to be black or face racism. Do you go to WashU, or a middle school down the street? Because you sound like a 12 year old right now.
    For your information, I am black, and while I don’t agree with several points on here I also believe that these people are simply pointing out what they see from their view. People who aren’t like you can actually understand what your struggle is if you communicate with them like an adult. MLK didn’t write or vote for the Civil Rights bill, and black people did not vote in Barack Obama. White people did, because they were able to see past the surface.
    I suggest you do the same, or you’ll only create more of the problems we’re witnessing on WashU’s campus.

    • anonymouse


      Folks should sit down outside the auspices of academia with a group of friends of different races. If you don’t have those friends… get in touch with that. If you only have friends from one other race… get in touch with that. But if you have the friends to do so, get drunk with them and have a conversation about what racism is, and to what extent we’re all a little racist.

    • Princeton Hynes

      Mmmmmhmm they’re coming from their point of view and their points of view are largely racist. They don’t have to like that fact, or me. I’m fine with that. THEY CANNOT UNDERSTAND MY STRUGGLE if I communicate with them. Their white skin/privilege prevents them from UNDERSTANDING. Are you serious? It’s not that hard to fathom. And to blame me for creating these types of problems is the kind of deflection I was talking about in my first comment. You’re an upholder of whiteness theory and I don’t care at all if you’re black–it’s wrong. Because “problems we’re witnessing on WashU’s campus” are not the minorities’ job to fix. They’re the responsibility of the privileged class that has the power to not do them but does them anyway. You can talk to me without anonymity if you want me to consider any of your words seriously. Because right now you just sound like an Uncle Tom.

      • anonymouse

        “Their white skin/privilege prevents them from UNDERSTANDING.”

        What if they’re gay? What if they grew up sensitive in a sensitivity-devaluing society? What if they grew up with anything different about them at all, that gave them a taste for what it’s like to be treated differently for an inherent characteristic?

        The point is, whiteness doesn’t block their capacity for empathy. Is empathy not a form of understanding? If you think white people, especially white people in an area like these were race relations are a little fubar, don’t know what it’s like to be treated like a subhuman because they happened to be the wrong color at the wrong place at the wrong time, you’ve gotta wake up to your own lack of understanding. It’s not the same class of experience in the narrowest scope, but in a broader scope it is a shared experience, and grounds for building empathy if not sympathy.

        • Princeton Hynes

          I say below that I believe in phenomena such as misogyny, transphobia, sexism, ableism, fatphobia, and homophobia (and advocate against them). I’m just talking about racism. White people don’t know that. Not a bit. Never have, never will at the rate these comments are going.

          I believe wholeheartedly in empathy and agree with you there! But empathy is not understanding. That’s like saying I can tell you anything about my emotional wellbeing and you’d “understand” it. No, you wouldn’t. If I came to you with a problem, as a friend, you could show me some empathy, you could commiserate, but you couldn’t wholeheartedly understand. Because it’s a situation I experienced and only I could, therefore you never could.

          As for your assertion about white people feeling subhuman–again, I agree that certain societal conditions make a gay white person feel subhuman or a white woman feel that way or a handicapped white person or a trans* white person. BUT on the issue of racism, the issues are not equivalent. You can’t say you know what it feels to be oppressed on the issue of race if you haven’t been and only have a parallel of oppression. That’s co-opting. That’s appropriation of suffering. And that’s a huge thing that Whiteness enables.

          For all of you who think I’m attacking white people because I think they can’t experience racism or because I only think they can, in our current society, be racist (I don’t care what a dictionary says–those are biased)–maybe reading about Whiteness will help.

          Once more. No white person has ever been the wrong color at the wrong time. Ever. In history. Maybe a white person has been too fat or gay or too skinny or a woman or in a wheelchair or pansexual or any of another shitty things in society. But they’ve always had the right skin. Because they created and continue to create the constructs that enable white skin as superior, no matter how much they wish not to see that societal incongruity.

          • I’d like to find a job, why would I put my name on this post?

            I was a white person (wrong color)at the wrong time last week. On the Metro Link I was sanctioned for having my music on too loud (listening to Billy Joel) with headphones in by a black patroling officer. On Monday, however, a black teenager was listening to an offensive song with a lot more N-word usage than the kid from SAE used on his phone, no headphones. Same black patroling the area, she did not so much as give him a warning. So do not use those convenient excuses that “black people do not have power therefor there cannot be reverse racism” because I just gave you a perfect example. And it is people like you, Princeton, and this security guard who make it difficult for this country or this campus to truly co-exist.

          • anonymouse

            Understanding is not the same thing as experiencing. There are degrees of understanding, all the way from faking it to being the same thing. When you say “you don’t understand, full stop, end of sentence,” it sounds a lot like you’re slamming the door on the whole spectrum, and I think that’s what people are reacting to, here. They are human, and have minds capable of understanding many things on many levels. So bring them up a level in terms of understanding black plight, rather than telling them they’ll never make it past level 0.

            No, I won’t ever be a black man or woman. But to some degree I can imagine myself as one, and can imagine myself being treated unequally, and that can evoke a real response that will change my behavior in the future.

            Essentially, you keep saying “you can’t ever BE black.” Well, that’s a tautology. We all get it. So let’s move on and see to what degree understanding *can* be established.

          • Anonymous

            “No white person has ever been the wrong color at the wrong time. Ever. In history.”
            Please explain the absoluteness of this statement. I’m from an area where people have been beat up for being white, had their car tires slashed for being white, called racial epithets in public for being white, treated poorly at restaurants for being white, and ridiculed for being white. To me, this sounds like they had the wrong color at the wrong time.

          • Alum

            Princeton, the sweeping generalizations you are making about people just because of the color of their skin is ignorant and racist.

        • Check Your Privilege

          Princeton is saying that being white in itself provides a ridiculous amount of privilege that a black person will never understand. You can hide being gay. You can NEVER hide being black. Please stop trying to equate any experience with being black in America. You are not only diminishing a struggle that is so emotionally, physically, psychologically, economically, and judicially detrimental to the black race but you are showing a level of closed-mindedness that is extremely disappointing. No experience is like being black in America. NONE. Empathy, white guilt, whatever, does not take away from the fact that by simply being white you are helping to uphold a number of structural systems founded and maintained by racism. Rather than trying to defend yourself as a white person who isn’t racist or understands struggle, why can’t you try to understand that you will never have to go through what Princeton has to go through? Why can’t you try to learn about your privilege and make an effort to use that education to help make a change for the better? And to “A Guy”, Princeton is not acting like a 12 year old. He is acting like someone who has affected by the many racist structure upholding American society. I am extremely disappointed that you, as a person of color, would want to pacify how Princeton is feeling. Maybe you have somehow been unaffected by the racist American society and/or the racist WashU culture (which would be shocking if so), but why shouldn’t Princeton be allowed to express himself? Why shouldn’t someone hear the pain and anger in his tone? I don’t think it is fair to tell someone that they can’t be offended, hurt, or angry about a racist act. About something clearly defining their identity, their humanity, their existence. And I think any person, black or white, should do better.

          • anonymouse

            “Please stop trying to equate any experience with being black in America.”

            You misunderstand. I’m not trying to equate it with anything. Drawing parallels is totally fine, though, and is the pathway to mutual respect and understanding.

            “the fact that by simply being white you are helping to uphold a number of structural systems founded and maintained by racism.”

            Surely it has something to do with one’s actions, not just being white.

            “Rather than trying to defend yourself as a white person who isn’t racist or understands struggle, why can’t you try to understand that you will never have to go through what Princeton has to go through?”

            You seems to be inferring an awful lot about me, based on what, I do not know. I am a little racist, like everyone else. See: avenue Q. You’re a little racist – everyone is. Deal with that!

            I understand perfectly well that I will never have to go through the same thing. I also understand that I am capable of some level of understanding, that is *some level,* in case you didn’t read carefully enough, and that that understanding can change my behavior in the future.

            “Why can’t you try to learn about your privilege and make an effort to use that education to help make a change for the better?”

            Again, assumptions assumptions. As someone who has tried, and who continues to try, you’re not going to stop me from trying – but you do make it seem kindof pointless, since you’re so willing to assume that I, being a white person, must not have ever tried. But I’ll persist. I shall overcome your shallow disrespect, and continue to cultivate my own understanding and respectfulness.

          • Okay Then

            Sorry Check, but Princeton has told people to “Go to Hell” and called A Guy “Uncle Tom.” He’s called posters racist and said he refuses to listen to a comment that is posted anonymously. He’s basically said white people have no ability to discuss the current issue, but of course they are the only ones capable of and obligated to fix it, as Princeton sees fit – at best, he’s being highly immature, and at worst he’s being intentionally inflammatory in an unproductive and un-constructive manner.

            I find it funny that you defend Princeton’s rights to feel what he’s feeling and give voice to them, but not A Guy’s or anybody else’s right to disagree and critique Princeton’s emotionally charged posts. If he merely has come to this forum to vent his frustration with society, fine… go at it. But, as indicated by his continued posts and responses, if he and everyone else have come here to participate in an ongoing dialogue, diatribes and ad hominems are not acceptable and telling everyone your perspective is the only possible one is not productive or convincing.

            Princeton isn’t just right about the whole issue because he thinks he is the most offended and the loudest about it. He can cite CRT all he wants, but the fact remains that there are plenty of reasonable and intelligent people of all races who disagree with the narrative CRT presents.

            And telling someone they just “can’t understand” and “never will” is hardly a productive comment. How is someone supposed to respond: “You are right. Tell me what is to be done?” Of course not. If you want to be productive, explain in a calm and non-inflammatory manner what difficulties are faced (not why they won’t understand). Telling someone to “get educated” is a cop out in any discussion.

            And seriously, calling another black person an “uncle tom” is a condemnable attempt to shout down his views.

            Further, statements by you like “simply being white you are helping to uphold a number of structural systems founded and maintained by racism” is not the way to ingratiate yourself with those of opposing viewpoints. You essentially just told white people “You’re all racist.”

            Hell, Princeton might be right about the whole thing… but he hardly has presented himself in a manner in which people can or will take him seriously. He has marginalized comments made by white people (or those he suspects of being white) and condemned those from black people with different perspectives. In his world, he is the authority on everything race related.

          • A Guy

            Check Your Privilege, I have no problem with people expressing their “pain and anger” and I’m not saying they can’t be offended. What I do have a problem with is people doing it in a way that is blatantly disrespectful and that does not allow for an honest discussion of the problem.
            I have been significantly affected by the racist American society and absolutely experienced the racist culture at WashU. However, instead of lashing out at others in a way that solves nothing and is quite frankly selfish, I choose to try to figure out how we can fix it bit by bit and beyond that, disprove it with my actions.
            If someone wants to call me an Uncle Tom, its their right to do so. But by doing that, I can tell you that they become part of the problem and not the solution. Fight hate with hate and see where it gets you.

      • Anonymous

        When did it become acceptable to refer to someone as “Uncle Tom”?

        • Princeton Hynes

          Around the same time it became acceptable for white people on this campus to say the n-word.

  • Concerned Greek

    As a former leader in the Greek community and a Washington University Alum, I can say this incident is a horrible blemish to our community. I studied History and American Culture Studies at wustl, and though I’m white, I recognize bigotry when I see or hear about it. The incident that occurred is horrible, and I feel terribly for those who were targeted in this act. What I think we all have to admit however, is that this incident is far from unique. This is not only an SAE problem, this is not only a Greek problem; this is a University problem. In 1968 the Association of Black Students made it a goal to have 90 African American students admitted in the incoming freshman class. To this date, the university has not met that goal. There is a dearth of black faculty on campus. As a fond student of a warm, intelligent, and involved black professor last year, I was incensed that the university did not (until a mass student petition surfaced) offer him a full time position. The issues of race on our campus are undeniable. Anyone who tries to deny that washu is a racially polarized campus is either blind or part of the problem. But as I have stressed, this is a campus wide and very deeply rooted problem that so far has only been met with cries of punishing SAE. Doing so would only sweep this incident under the rug, and I’m sure that’s exactly what the University wants to do. The Greek community is in fact, a place where cross-racial cross-ethnic friendships flourish. This is not to negate the very real racism that transpired, but only to say that in order to grow we need to have full participation of all involved. Mandatory education and discussions of racial prejudice would go much much further toward bettering campus as a whole than simply skapegoating SAE and going about our still racially exclusive washu lives feeling proud we’ve “gotten rid of the bad guys.” We need dialogue, not punishment for an incident as ignorant as this. And we need it for the entire WashU community, not just those involved here.

    • dagger

      I agree that this is part of a larger problem, but be careful when you talk about the students who were “targeted” in this act. It is pretty clear from the evidence that no part of this was racially motivated, and can hardly be considered bigotry. As someone else said, this was an incident of ignorance, not malice, and the issue of race did not even cross the pledge’s minds until they saw the reaction of the table of black students and realized their mistake.

  • Princeton Hynes

    Lol all I can say is y’all need to read some books on critical race theory and educate yourselves. Step out of your comfort zones and privilege and acknowledge that maybe things aren’t being blown out of proportion and maybe instead of upholding your whiteness you should be listening to what the oppressed are saying. Your refutations are thin defense mechanisms. And they’re soon to crack.

    • Ann Onymous

      So according to you, only black people know what its like to be oppressed huh?

      • Princeton Hynes

        No. I never said that. But white people will never know what it’s like to be oppressed on the basis of race. Maybe a white woman knows sexism or a white person who is differently abled knows ableism. But, no. White people will never ever ever ever ever know oppression and definitely cannot compare anything to centuries of the slavery genocide, then segregation and Jim Crow, then and now the prison industrial complex and the war on drugs, and a multitude of other inequalities and injustices that DISPROPORTIONATELY and SOMETIMES SOLELY affect black people.

        • A Non Ymous

          Yes, Princeton, a white woman may know sexism or a white homosexual may know homophobia. Both of those forms of discrimination, as well as ableism, antisemitism, anything else, have existed for centuries. But they were experienced by our ancestors.

          You personally did not experience slavery or segregation or Jim Crow, your ancestors did, just as my ancestors experienced antisemitism and sexism. Yes, it sucks for our ancestors, but why do you have any more right to argue on behalf of your ancestors than those who are Jewish or female or whatever else?

          You don’t know what it felt like to be whipped or lynched anymore than I know what it felt like to live in a concentration camp and be thrown into a gas chamber to die.

          I recognize that racism is a problem here and now, at Wash U and everywhere else in America. And I don’t deny that, overall, white people are better off in our society. I believe, though, that American universities are a great place to equalize people before sending them out into the world, to spread the ideals of equality we have learned in our years in college, and to create a better and less discriminatory future for the whole of America.

          What I’m asking is for everyone, please, to stop dragging in what has happened in the past and deal with it IN THE HERE AND NOW because that’s what really matters. Obviously, centuries of racism is the root of the problem but we really can’t change the past, so why can’t we accept each other as equals-I thought that was what college was about when I came here-and come to a solution for the present?

  • Conspirator

    Just throwing it out there now…

    If I was SAE and innocent, I’d volunteer the scavenger hunt list (or the relevant part) to be reviewed so that the innocuous fraternal intent would be shown (e.g. the task just said “Do slam poetry of a song in BD”).

    Also, if I was SAE and guilty (e.g. the task said “Do slam poetry of “B—— Aint S—” without skipping any words in front of a table of black students and record it”), I’d volunteer the scavenger hunt list (or the relevant part) to be reviewed so that the innocuous fraternal intent would be shown… after I reprinted a new list that changed the task to something innocent sounding.

    • Conspirator

      Hmmm…. How weird… It seems like SAE published the list… and it was pretty innocent…

      (Except for eating a dog. As a supporter of PETA, I’m firmly against that.)

  • Folds?

    Anybody find it interesting that this very song was re-recorded by Ben Folds (check youtubes) and the word repeated by the white drummer?

    • Throw Another T on the Barby

      Yeah but that drummer is Australian, so it’s different /s.

  • It’s Time

    I wonder why everybody is incensed with the use of the n-word (in general – obviously directed it becomes horrible) but has no problem with a song that starts off by saying:

    “B—— aint s—, but h— and tricks
    Lick on these nuts and suck the d—.”

    I have a feeling it’s not because there is an admitted lack of people who self identify as “b——” (or that Dre is in fact saying that they are NOT feces).

    Maybe it’s time all words of such nature are put to rest by all corners of society.

  • Reality

    This story is such a gross collection of lies and exaggerations if you really take two seconds to think about it

  • Zach

    I think this satire (the link below) neatly captures the current situation quite well. Any non-black people claiming some right to use that word beyond the sanctuary of their privacy should take a look and really pay attention. There’s a reason people like Princeton say “You will never understand how it feels to be black and hear that word said by a non-black person.” Like it or not, we are not a post-racial society. Legacies of social differentiation and the uneven power relationships that they created live on. It’s harder and harder in these times to realize it because of how much progress has been made, but that is what it is, progress, not completion. Progress, and not completion of the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of equality. To complain about not being able to use that word is just indefensible. It is a word that has been reclaimed within a specific community as a form of expressing interpersonal solidarity as well as defiance to a history of systematic oppression. Privileged groups simply don’t need that word and shouldn’t worry about being able to say it. If you so feel the desire to, do it in the privacy of your own space and away from those it would hurt. As Avenue Q teaches us, everyone’s a little bit racist, but no one should act on it towards whatever group is in question.

    TL;DR – You don’t get it. You never can, and never will. Race is a lived, intangible experience that cannot be duplicated within the limits of a mind that has never truly gone through it.

    Side note: I self-identify as Chicano and consider myself part of the smallest minority that exists on this campus (since mentioning what we identify as has come to be a norm in this thread).

    • Ammar

      If I may…
      I’m a member of an often disenfranchised ethnic/religious community. i’ve been through a lot because of that. we all have, in different ways.

      what i’m reading in the comments is that there seems to be a pretty sizable group of people who believe that someone that isn’t black cannot understand what it means for the n word to be said to them. although there are historically offensive words that apply to my ethnicity as well, i don’t think i would ever say that no one could ever understand what it feels like to have that word said to them. i’m a firm believer that dialogue, constructed in the right manner, can help this understanding occur.

      in no way am i saying that i do understand what it feels like. i’m just saying i’d like to be able to have talks about what it feels like without people automatically assuming that no one can understand. if things have gotten to the point where no one can understand what other people are going through, then the world is truly in a sadder state than i imagined.

      it’s all to easy to say that others cannot understand what we are going through instead of taking the time and having the difficult conversations to at least try to make them understand. if anyone is willing to help me understand, please reply to this post, and i’d love to meet with you.

      • Zach

        I think that such a dialogue is important as well, but I guess the point of what I’m saying is that there is an enduring historical process of racial subjugation that has existed as a near binary between black and white in the US that has facilitated situations such as what we face now (I say near because to frame it as such negates the prejudice experienced by all other ethnic/racial/religious newcomers incongruent with WASPs). No other group has endured the length of institutionalized and social oppression on such a grand scale in the history of this country, which is what is imbibed within that word to a degree. There’s simply no comprehensive way to capture the lived experience of the spectrum of prejudice towards black skin within people and their larger social constructs for explanation.

        The same sentiment applies elsewhere too. For example, as a man, it’d be similarly naive of me to ever think that I could fully “get” the struggles and oppression a woman faces and the resultant emotions of being called things like the C-word or “slut”. Additionally, I’d imagine that many women would take offense were I to try to defend that such words were used harmlessly or unintentionally hurtful upon a misguided use of it that did in fact hurt the listener. Such terms are culturally loaded with patriarchal and sexist histories and have long meant to demean, commodify and subjugate the female sex as lesser than man. The truth is that words can hurt and the N-word in particular has unearthly weight associated with it. We can try all we want to put ourselves in each other’s shoes, but neither you nor myself will ever achieve that precise emotional response and all the historical baggage that comes along with the utterance of that word falling on the ears of someone whom it affects in that way.

        That being said, it doesn’t at all mean we shouldn’t continue to have intelligent dialogues in times like this to help better ourselves and our understandings of prejudice. I simply stand firm that for any other group, regardless of color, to fight about being able to say it without upsetting the community to which it pertains simply doesn’t get it because the fact of the matter is that it does upset many and will continue to do so for some time. You don’t need the word, and if you do use it, just keep it private and away from those it hurts most because there’s unimaginable pain that comes with it for a lot of people out there.

        This isn’t a response directly to you, but an issue I feel like has been brought up by others who say that they don’t see other marginalized groups doing this. As far as the reclamation of offensive terms goes, black people aren’t the only ones. In the LGBTQIA camp, “Queer” has come to be reused in a positive light in some circles, even gaining academic legitimacy with the development of “Queer Theory”, whereas others still take great offense to the term because of their personal experiences with it as well as many other reasons. Women worldwide have taken to SlutWalks as a form of protest against sexual violence, although that has its WGSS critics as well. Concerning the word in question, there are plenty of people within the black community who call for the abandonment of its use altogether and refuse to say it themselves. I can’t say who I is right, but again, that’s what makes sustained dialogue such as what you want to have so important.

        • Princeton Hynes

          Thank you.

        • Hmmm

          Wouldn’t the ultimate goal be for the n-word to have no power over anyone?

  • Ann Onymous

    Studlife, can you please correct your article. The word was not used towards the group of black males. Be smart, realize your wording matters

  • Michael

    Can white males sing rap songs containing the n word? Is there a difference between it ending in -er and -a? Please answer thoughtfully, thanks.

  • An irritated WashU student

    Can everyone stop being so obsessed with being politically correct? This was an act out of ignorance, not out of hatred or racism. It’s infuriating that this has blown up to the level that it has, since the young men involved were simply not thinking when they performed this rap and didn’t mean to harm anyone. Did they go up to a black person and call them the N word? No. They sang a RAP that they did not make up, might I add, in a public space, and it seems that it wasn’t to anyone in particular. It’s unfortunate that the combination of circumstances happened so that black people were there, and were offended when this word was said, but everyone really needs to chill the f— out and stop being so ridiculously politically correct over an unintentional word.

    • Sleepsaround

      Uh, just because someone doesn’t “mean” to harm anyone doesn’t mean they don’t inflict/perpetuate harm. Ignorance is fixable, luckily, but it’s also not a cure-all excuse. Truly decent people, when called out for their harmful decisions, will internalize that criticism and strive to do better.
      Also, you admitted that “black people were there, and were offended”- why do you feel a need to minimize their offense?

  • iloveulongtime

    In regards to the n-word and its usage among black and non-black people:
    The word is floated around among black people in a very lackadaisical manner. I don’t see homosexuals calling each other the f-word or Mexicans saying the S-word to one another. When a derogatory word isn’t shunned by the community it creates a situation where people from outside the community think it is acceptable to use the word in similar, lackadaisical ways. When these outsides get attacked for doing so then yes they’ll probably call it a double standard.

    Place these words where they belong: the trash.

    • Everyone’s a little bit racist

      But that won’t work for some people on this forum. If you read through, a lot of the black people are set on taking the word back. They don’t want it in the trash. They want to use it and laugh while other people don’t use it.

      • iloveulongtime

        Yeah I saw that and that’s why I wrote that comment.

  • Chizom

    There are too many attacks on here.

  • girl friday

    seems like the fraternity system has gotten way out of has the drinking culture at WU. As an alum and a parent, I don’t think I’d spend $300,000 to send my kids here, just to be on a campus that condones harassing black students.. and (judging from the other articles) drinking to excess and sleeping around. I thought this used to be a decent university.

    • Pete

      That’s any college…

    • Seriously?

      You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about and you sound very ignorant making such broad statements based on one incident. What other articles are you reading about drinking to excess and sleeping around? I don’t see any.

      • Sleepsaround

        Besides, what’s wrong with sleeping around (provided the participants are consenting adults)? Racism is a real problem on campus. Let’s focus on that.

    • Bring’em

      Pretty sure if you’re afraid of “sleeping around” you should start with the few universities where this doesn’t happen, rather than cross off those where it does, it’ll be much more efficient.

      Here, I’ll start the list for you: BYU

    • A Guy

      Your comments are unfounded and very blanketed. I’m a WashU alum as well, and despite the fact that the incidents that have occurred are shameful and embarrassing, you are out of your mind if you don’t think that things like this don’t occur at every school in the country.

      If you want to shelter your children and lie to them about what happens in the real world, than do so and see how they turn out when they leave the house for good and see the truth. WashU is an outstanding school and community, regardless of what is happening at the moment.

  • Wash U’s on the 10oclock News!!!

    Who is the most ignorant (or ignant if you’re a Drake fan) person on this post: Matt or Princeton Hynes? And the award goes to….Princeton!! Congratulations. Sorry Matt.

    • purposelypissingyouoff

      Affirmative action strikes again!

    • calvincandie

      Princeton started off with some valid points but then kinda spiraled into craziness… so I’d vote for him.

    • Princeton Hynes

      Are you white?

      • Uncle Thomas

        I should ask you the same thing. According to Faces, you’re hardly even black.

        • Princeton Hynes

          Hahahaha good one. Since you know what I look like and know my e-mail address, I invite you–any of you, really–to say some of these things to my face or without the forcefield of anonymity. Coward.

  • Wash U Alumnus

    I agree that WashU should have a full investigation into this matter to determine intent and the actual events that took place. But this has obviously sparked a larger conversation, and I think it is an opportunity to have an important conversation about race, difference, and bigotry in our community and in society at large. Ignorance may be an explanation, but it is no excuse.

    No matter what the individuals in this event did or did not do, let’s talk about these issues. Let’s have a conversation about why it is different for a white person to say the n-word than for a black person to say the n-word. Let’s have a conversation about what a history of racial discrimination and violence actually means. What did that look 60 years ago? What does racial segregation look like today? Let’s have a conversation about the difference between a performance of a song and an event intended to objectify and demean someone. Let’s talk about the harm that comes when someone takes a photograph of someone else in a way that separates them from others. That says, “You are different from me.” “I’m not like you.” “You are something to be looked at, and laughed at, and made to feel different.”

    If we do not understand now, let us do everything we can to understand why the alleged behavior is completely inappropriate and unacceptable.

    • eailfromkkl

      There are always things that family can say within their circles. I think that we all know that context is everything and that the use of the N word by a SAE pledge was totally inappropriate, hurtful, and ignorant.

  • Laughing

    How do medical schools accept people like matt? What a joke.

    • purposelypissingyouoff

      Affirmative action?

  • purposelypissingyouoff

    OJ was guilty!!

  • David K

    Every time I hear a news story about greek life, they’re doing some obnoxious racist or sexist s—. Frats are clearly a relic of the days before the internet when everyone could see the terrible s— you pull. I sincerely hope the tradition dies.

    Even if the details aren’t right, even if the events are separated by more time here, people of color shouldn’t have to deal with even separate incidents like this on our campus. Treating this like it’s just okay now because they apologized is ridiculous.

    Most of you commenters should be ashamed. You’re calling the targets of the harassment oversensitive like they’re just suppose to put up with this kind of s—, some guy coming around to mock two centuries of systemic abuse and then come over and so-false-sincere explain to you why it’s okay for him to do that like you are an idiot child, and explain how well he understands racism so it’s okay for him to use slurs in a basic non-apology. I’m so glad the victims spoke up and hope the students involved are subject to some severe punishment. I expect better from Wash U.

    • Matt

      Well I was told by a commenter that I couldn’t say the n-word (ending in an A) even if I was walking down the street and rapping a Jay-z song. Actually, I was told I would get assaulted. Do you feel that I shouldn’t be allowed to say the n-word even if its not directed at a black person? Do you feel that I should get the “s— beat out” of me for doing so?

      • Eboni Sharp

        No, you should not be allowed to say it. It’s derogatory and holds centuries worth of malignant and ill-will towards the African-American race. Just because Jay-Z put it in a song gives you no right whatsover to use it, whether it be amongst your friends or walking down the street. The point is that it’s offensive. Do not expect Black people to just get over it because you heard it in some song, so that must make it okay. It doesn’t. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps it the rappers who use this song should be concerned about the context in which they are employing this word? Don’t hop on the bandwagon of “Oh they’re doing it, so it’s fair game.” As for getting the s— beat out of you, no one deserves to be assaulted for that. There are better ways of handling issues. Make no mistake, however, that there are individuals out there who feel strongly about the usage of this word and will not always be so willing to talk it out. Using this word in any shape, form, or fashion is a dishonor to the memory of oppression that my ancestors endured. Just show some respect and don’t use it. It’s one word. Eliminating this one from your vocabulary isn’t going to kill you.

        • Matt

          Well then we shouldn’t be allowed to say any derogatory statements because each has its own history of oppression and persecution (even if we aren’t using them to incite anger). If you’re willing to remove words like f—– and k— from your vocabulary then I’m sure we could find some common ground.

          • Peter

            Listen pal, you are a white person. You are part of an insanely privileged group of people that doesn’t have to worry about affirmative action or institutional racism. You get the whole world handed to you on a platter and all of a sudden you also want the ability to say the n-word? That word is being reclaimed the minority that used to be targeted with it in slur form and nobody asked for your help. You are not being oppressed, you are not a victim of racism or reverse-racism, you are being a child. Grow up.

          • Peter is lame

            Yeah Peter, It’s really nice to be 100K in debt because there aren’t any Urban Scholarships out there for me. All white people are the same!! Racist moron.

          • Matt

            When did I say I was a victim of racism or reverse racism? I was suggesting that the hurtful nature of the n-word is similar to f—– in the homosexual community and k— in the Jewish community (to clarify, I’m not a member of either).

            Black people are saying I can’t say the N-word. Fine. But they better defend every other group just as hard then and fight to get the hurtful words directed at those groups removed from the vernacular as well.

          • Eboni Sharp

            Matt, I never use words such as this because they’re offensive and derogatory, thereby proving my point. They were never in my vocabulary to begin with. Do not put those words in my mouth. I’m responsible for my actions, so please be responsible for yours.

          • Matt

            Eboni no where did I accuse you of using those words. I said that if you support banning the n-word then you should support banning all similarly derogatory words. It seems like this line of logic would be consistent with your last statement so I believe we are on the same page.

          • Eboni Sharp

            “If you’re willing to remove words like f—– and k— from your vocabulary then I’m sure we could find some common ground.” This is what I was referring to. You implied that these words were in my vocabulary. I was simply saying that they are not, nor do I condone their use.

          • Matt

            I was more saying to say “lets be proactive and get rid of these words” vs “you use these awful words and therefore you’re a hypocrite” but I can see how you could view it as such. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

          • Poster


            Listen pal… is usually not a great way to start a sentence, especially one trying to convey your point of view to the “pal” in question. It starts the conversation off on the wrong foot and there is almost never a going-back. Moving on though.

            I’m not sure why black people “worry” about affirmative action, as you say – it seems like an attempt at rectifying some injustice through benefiting minorities. I suppose you might worry the perceptions that arise in society as a whole due to the existence of affirmative action.

            But regardless, lumping all white people together as “insanely” privileged and getting the “world handed to [them] on a silver platter” is patently false, unfair, and to be honest ignorant of what white privilege means. Benefits accrued in society by virtue of being white (maybe not being considered suspicious by security at a store merely based on the color of one’s skin) is not the same thing as being handed the world on a silver platter. There are plenty of underprivileged white people who struggle to make their way in life and better themselves at institutions of higher learning.


            I like your moniker. And I think what you have proposed (if I understand correctly) is probably the right answer. It’s not just that white people should not say the n-word, it’s that we should probably remove that word as well as other offensive words from our vocabulary all together – as in, all of us – black, white, and every shade between – together.

          • Anonymous

            That awkward moment when “Peter is lame” assumed there aren’t any white Ervin* Scholars… and completely ignored all the other merit based scholarships at this school.

    • Doodoo

      It’s an unfortunate reality that the vast majority of published stories on greek life are regarding negative behavior. Having said that, this does not mean that WashU greek life as a whole is racist or sexist. You don’t often hear about brothers who go out of their way to help one another in times of need, but it happens every day anyway. You don’t always hear about fraternity and sorority philanthropic activities, but they happen anyway.

      My point is that fraternities and sororities do plenty of good things that quite outnumber the errors they make, but these aren’t the stories that get readers for a college newspaper.

  • Sad Truth

    Racism? In a Wash U frat? How shocking.

    Honestly, I don’t see how anyone familiar with our Greek Life can be surprised by this sort of behavior.

    • Matt

      When I was at WashU most fraternities had members from all races and backgrounds. Has that changed or do these people now condone “racist” behavior?

      • Sad Truth

        Just to be clear, you’re saying that because an organization is ethnically/culturally diverse that none of its members can be racist?

        Certainly not all of the fraternity brothers at Wash U are bigots, but that doesn’t mean bigotry isn’t present and isn’t a problem.

        • Matt

          When did I say that individual members couldn’t be racist?

          People want to punish the entire organization thereby holding every member accountable for these actions. This procedure would suggest that all members condoned the activity. That would make black people racist against black people (which, outside of a Chappelle Show skit, would be news to me).

          I agree that there are certainly people in Greek Life who are bigots. But these people also exist outside of Greek Life. WashU admissions is incapable of screening for racists so these people exist in the undergraduate community. Greek life isn’t turning people into racists; it happened long before these individuals arrived at WashU.

          That all being said, I don’t believe these students engaged in racist behavior.

        • Interpreter

          You statement was/is implying that there is a culture of racism/prejudice/bigotry within (at least some) fraternities, not that given a broad swath of people, statistically speaking some are likely to be bigoted/racist/prejudiced and also be in fraternities.

  • Concerned Alumnus

    Anyone who thinks the pledge event was designed to racially attack African American students is simply looking to create controversy where there is no need to start one. Stud Life and the school administration should be ashamed for what has transpired, without even seeking and considering the facts of the events.

    After the misunderstanding, SAE clearly apologized to the community. That should be enough. This witchhunt and the reactions from the student body make me ashamed to be a Wash U alumnus.

    • Princeton Hynes

      How dare you say an apology should be enough? How dare you say they haven’t sought the facts when there’s an investigation? How dare you say this is just something to create controversy? Are you white? If so, you don’t know a D— thing about how someone should feel about even having a WHIFF of racism. Do you get that? Not a D— thing. You can commiserate ’til you’re blue in the face; you will NEVER understand. Don’t you dare sit at that keyboard and anonymously diminish the feelings that are backed by centuries of injustice as if it’s a trifling matter. Go to hell.

      • Concerned Alumnus

        I’m Jewish, we’ve had millenia of injustice Mr Hynes. What is your solution? That these students and SAE be expelled and disbanded, respectively? They immediately apologized for the actions. It was a misunderstanding, there was no malice intended. Yes, that should have been enough.

        • Concerned Student

          People experience and react to moments like this differently; whether or not malice was intended is ultimately irrelevant- the effect on those listening, those who stood by and did nothing, and those who’ve since heard the story is the same. An (admittedly extreme) example is firing a gun: regardless of whether or not the action was intended, the damage is still done.
          An apology is a nice and necessary gesture, but this entire event has shed light on an underlying problem that still needs to be addressed. Black students (along with Jewish students, and every other minority group on campus) deserve to go about their days feeling as accepted and safe as any other student. A simple apology doesn’t accomplish that.
          I am hopeful that whatever consensus is reached allows everyone to move forward and engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue; chalking it up to a misunderstanding and forgetting this happened only puts us back where we were 4 years ago.

      • whoa now

        I’m white and although I might not have had major issues because of my race (minor, yes), I have been the victim of prejudice because of my ethnicity. And more importantly, these instances were much more malignant than some kids reading the lyrics of a dr dre song aloud. So to say that white people do not and will not understand racism is just an ignorant comment.

        • Anonymous

          Says he is capable of understanding but then reduces the significance of saying lyrics with the N-word in front of black people… I will try to explain if you let me, but it’s disheartening to try and initiate that conversation of understanding when people are already minimizing how I should feel about the situation.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, the “you can never understand” argument is a load of crap used to justify an indefensible position. As someone making claims, it’s your job to make me understand.

        • Princeton Hynes

          How can I make you understand what it’s like to be me or what it means to be black (from my perspective) when those are things you’ll never be? The thing you should understand is that because you will never understand those things, you should be careful putting your opinion on how I feel about being oppressed or what you think it a “load of crap.” Of course, perspective is indefensible. I can’t make you understand and even if I tried and thought I succeeded–you’d still have white privilege and skin to protect you from the threats of what I go through. You’ll NEVER know. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Matt

            Certainly no one can understand your struggles 100%. Similarly no one could completely understand my childhood nor the struggles that came with it. That doesn’t mean someone is incapable of understanding at 10%, 50%, or 75%. If I simply said, “you can’t understand so I’m not going to bother” that wouldn’t accomplish much.

            Many people have gone through struggles, not just you and your family.

          • Can’t We All Just Get An Understanding?

            We should probably end all conversations regarding everything because clearly each of us is a unique individual with varying and non-repeating backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, understandings, opinions, and history that nobody else could truly come to fully understand and appreciate.

            I’ll never understand what my half-black, half-white, jewish friend has experienced. Or my Jewish-Muslim friend. Or my black-french friend. I should probably just accept whatever they have to say on the given issue.

            Clearly these types of comments are highly productive and not at all inflammatory.

            (Also, I sometimes get sarcastic on boards.)

    • current student


  • kingkong

    I know Stud Life post is known for some questionable content, but this is a new low. Michael Tabb, two-bit editor that passed this sham should be ashamed and made an example of. Anyone familiar with the actual event in question knows how ludicrous this article is, and when the pending university investigation ends I hope that Huffington and the incompetents at Stud Life get it. A key point in this article — “One member of the group was videoing the event on his phone” — nothing even tangentially related to the above story happened in the video. If you go around flinging s—, some of it will come back to you. This article is libel clear and simple and whoever is on the posting end of this will end with some deserved legal issues.

    • Lawyer

      I doubt it. For libel you need to prove that they knowingly printed false information.

      • kingkong

        The Stud Life staff ignored journalistic integrity to uphold truthfulness, accuracy, and objectivity. Although it would be hard to prove their willingness to post false information, the fact that they are an arm of the University and that due to their inadequacy as journalists defamed an entire University organization merits some administrative justice in the least. Furthermore, the damage these students have to the reputation of the University by reporting a half-assed story to the media is unforgivable.

        • Tom

          Actually StudLife is an independent newspaper, and is not, as you put it, “an arm of the University.” It is student-produced and run, but not University affiliated – it receives no funding from SU.

          As for your claim of libel, I think that’s a bit strong.

      • LLM

        False. You merely need to prove a disregard for the truth and/or a lack of professional standards regarding the verification of information gathered and printed by the libeler.

        It merely requires negligence.

  • Alison

    To paraphrase Groucho…. I wouldn’t want to be a part of any group that would have me do something like this. :)

  • do some real journalism

    Hold up, so the two incidents that Stud Life’s crack reporting team compressed into the same moment were separated by 30-45 minutes. That means that they were clearly two different pieces of the scavenger hunt. Who knows what the picture one was supposed to be, but even on face taking a picture with a group of black people is just not worth the s— storm that’s been created.

    Then there’s the second item on the scavenger hunt. This item was clearly designed to be funny a la “let’s get this kid who does serious slam poetry to do slam poetry to a very dirty song because it’s ironic and funny.” The very notion that white people can’t even say the word ‘n—-‘ in the context of a song is beyond preposterous. To claim that is to claim that white people are not allowed to appreciate or indulge in black culture, in this case rap music. It’s exclusionary logic and this kind of exclusionary logic only entrenches racial differences that lead to the kind of de jure segregation we see today. It’s the reason it’s so easy to find a group of only black people sitting around a table and a group of only white or asian people sitting around a table.

    • do some real journalism

      de facto not de jure, my b

    • Matt

      What information do you have that separates the incidents by 30-45 minutes? Seems like that would be a pretty powerful piece of evidence for this fraternity.

      • Henry Palmer

        From the anecdote provided by a student on HuffPost.

      • Matt

        Yep just saw that.

      • Anti-Matt

        Love that you are trying to play the role of doctor, humanitarian, academic, and lawyer all at once… But stop.

        • Matt

          Well I said I was a medical student but sure I’ll go with the doctor thing.

    • aintstudyingyou

      You seem not to know the difference between de jure and de factor — a first problem. And while we’re at it, the question is not whether or not a white person can say a word (if his mouth works, he can). the question is whether or not black students who are offended when he performs the song *in front of them* can say so. and the answer is simple. he can do it. and they can say: we think this is foul.

      • Second Problem

        I’ve never heard of this “de factor” – please elaborate.

  • This happens a lot, unfortunately.

    Quick question. If this was just one person, or a group of people not affiliated with a fraternity or a student group is this still a news story?

    Not defending anyone, just a question about when use of the n word warrants news, because I’ve heard a lot of people use it around black people and while it was offensive, I doubt it was news.

  • america

    Once Again, StudLife exhibits extremely shoddy journalism. Read this and then read the huff post article. This article is patently false. I heard from a brother that this ‘task’ was supposed to be done in private, and that the pledge was just being idiotic, and not malicious.

  • Jon Doe

    Ah yes, the student’s who began this rumor mill laugh, but their lawyers will be quite upset when they receive all the lawsuits for slander.

    • Matt

      I didn’t even think of that. If the allegations are not true I sincerely hope the accusers get expelled.

  • Madison
    • Matt

      Yes, the full story. From one side only. Brilliant. I guess WashU relaxed their admission standards…

      • Henry Palmer

        Yeah, they let you in.

        • Matt

          Yeah and they gave me a bunch of money to go there! And now some medical school is paying for all my tuition. What morons!

          • Anonymous

            Congrats on being the world’s biggest douche bag!!!! :-)

  • Clark Kent

    Everyone should read this post. I meant to send it as an Op Ed but it was too long. I hope you all share this link after you read it.

    -Clark Kent

    • English Teacher

      I’m sure you have some great insight but you need to chop up your text into smaller paragraphs.

      Very difficult to read.

    • kingkong

      Dude great article, it really made me evaluate the issues again. Have you thought about writing professionally? It’s that good.

      • Clark Kent

        Thank you! I just hope that you share it with as many people as you can. And no, I have never written professionally before, just wanted to share my reactions with everyone. If anyone hasn’t read it yet here it is.

  • XL

    What was the song?

    • anonymous

      a more detailed FIRST HAND account of the incident: #perspective

      • Jon Doe

        Since when has been considered a first hand account?

        • John Donne

          I’m assuming you clicked on the link and read the article before commenting, right? Because there is no way you could have missed the long quoted and blocked section from one of the students seated at the table where the incident occurred. Pretty sure that would be considered first hand.

  • Matt

    Does this chapter have any African-american members? If the position of WashU/Studlife/African american student organizations is that SAE and its members condoned racist activity that it seems counter-intuitive that African-american members would condone racist actions against members of their own race…

    • Ann Onymous

      Matt, theyre probably the most diverse chapter on this campus. Students from all races

      • Bob

        Nah Sig Chi probably

    • anon

      Two current African-American brothers, one who just graduated. Two years ago their president was black.

    • Anonymous

      Because a group has Black members, there’s no way they can be racist! You’re kidding right??? There were Jews who served under Hitler and committed atrocities against their own race. There were slaves that were documented as being meaner to their own fellow slaves than the slavemasters themselves. Your argument is invalid.

  • FactThenReact

    What if the scavenger hunt item was to “get a photograph of a table of students that are all the same race” without allusion to a particular one? What if the item was to get a photo of a table of students of the same race for EVERY race?

    Sure, race is the focus here, but that does not make it racist, in its own right. Perhaps it is related to the fact that is all too common that people self-segregate at WashU (and really everywhere), and perhaps the scavenger hunt item was related to this reality.

    I don’t see anything wrong with people primarily hanging out with their own race, sitting together, whatever. It doesn’t matter…but it is pretty normal to see a table a black students, a table of white students, a table of asian students etc. Just saying…would there still be outrage if this was focused at Asians only? Would there still be outrage if the N-word had never been used at all, but the picture was taken? Just food for thought.

    • C’mon Man

      Definitely FACT then REACT – hold our pre-judging and all.

      But c’mon, bro… really?

  • DMS

    First of all, If sig Ep got kicked off for what they did, than SAE should be out of their house by tomorrow. Secondly, I have yet to see an intelligent comment on this issue. I feel like all the responses are from either Al Sharpton, or from a bigotted racist. when things like this transpire, and you become incensed, the best thing to do for yourself is to take some deep breaths and relax. That does not mean to say what happened was not wrong- it absolutely was, and anyone that argues that should take some time to do some serious soul searching- but in arguing with hatred, whatever constructive dialogue may have come out of an incident like this is lost. Unfortunately, this type of incident happening at Wash U does not surprise me in the least. Many of the white kids at this school come from the richest, most exclusive, and sheltered lives. quite frankly, they don’t yet possess an understanding of reality. These kids come from schools with only a few, if any, African Americans and simply don’t know how hurtful an incident like this can be. Lets hope this incident will be used as an oportunity to educate and grow, rather than become a divisive and destructive issue. WWJD

    • Gee Wiz


    • Zapp Brannigan

      ” Many of the white kids at this school come from the richest, most exclusive, and sheltered lives. quite frankly, they don’t yet possess an understanding of reality” – Let’s respond to racism with racist stereotypes. (that was scarcasm btw)

    • fedup

      And some of us “white kids” are here on scholarship/aid and work multiple jobs (work study and not) in order to graduate with less than a mortgage in debt. Don’t respond to racism with more stereotypes, even if they are slightly founded because of a PART of the student population.

    • This Guy, Not One of Those

      I hear those kids are the worst! They give the rest of us realistic whites a bad name.

  • John Belushi

    Why do we have frats? It’s just become a way for SU to pay for beer…

    • Matt

      SU doesn’t contribute $ to fraternities. Try again.

    • Sad Alum

      Fraternities do not receive funding from SU for beer. Kill that idea now and take up your complaint with those who plan Happy Hour.

    • Madison


    • Jim

      While I love John Belushi, you just got destroyed.

  • Allison Reed

    Aw, wow. You’re right.
    It’s so unfair that white people can’t use the word n—– and black people can.
    Know what else is unfair?
    300+ years of free labor stolen from & race-based oppression suffered by blacks at the hands whites.

    • FactThenReact

      Is this really what this discussion is turning into? If it is UNFAIR on who can use the word? Give me a f—ing break. Allow me to just nip it in the bud.

      White people, you do not have a right to use the word in the same context as black people. Or ever, really, unless it is appropriate. There really isn’t any logic in the fairness here…its related to culture and history that you are not a part of. Get over it.

      Black people (or whoever), can we not assume that the discussion of the use of the word by a white person is automatically seen as an argument regarding the “fairness” of its use, but rather a discussion about its context? Can we please not bring slavery and oppression into this? YES YES YES, I realize the history of the term and the effect it can have, but look at this scenario so far. The last thing I need is to feel guilty because of “300+ years of free labor…” all because some dips— dropped the N-bomb while rapping a Dr. Dre song. Yeah, slave history is abhorrent…but its irrelevant to this story.

      For chrissakes, WE DON’T EVEN KNOW THE FULL STORY. The first thing I saw on my facebook was that this was a “N—– Hunt”, which was not true. Just because some white kid recited a rap lyric and idiotically dropped the N-word doesn’t mean the kid/SAE is racist, doesn’t mean that our university is undergoing another bout of intolerance, and it doesn’t mean we should ignore it. Of course, if these kids were trying to target blacks and get a rise out of them, throw the book…but I doubt that’s the case. Can’t we all get along? Can’t we all stop being

      • Matt

        I agree with this 100%.

      • anonymous

        Ha. Whether or not the kid who said the n word is viewed as racist is a moot point. The crux of the issue is that he used the word around black people. How is that not going to get a reaction? One really has to wonder what was entering the kid’s mind at the time to have the audacity to say the n word near a group of black people.

        You ask can’t we all get along. What do you really mean by that? Hiding how we truly feel about each other but acting as if everything is cool? In no way am I suggesting the kid is racist. I don’t even know who the kid is. However, it’s interesting such an event has occurred and yet again, we have some members of the WashU community who can’t quite grasp the gravity of the situation.

        You want everyone to get along? How about we stop getting ourselves into these silly situations and put the brakes on rash decisions like this one?

        • Matt

          Audacity? Would I not allowed to sing/rap a song with the n-word in it? If I’m walking down the street and singing/raping along to a Jay-z song and see a group of black people what should I do? Do I have to immediately modify my speech? I didn’t realize we were living in Soviet russia…

          • anonymous

            Context my friend. Context. If you’re white, just realize you may get the s— beat out of you even if you’re reciting it from a Jay-z song. The better question is why should you want to say it? The fact you’re equating this with soviet russia shows your ignorance towards the situation.

            Save yourself the trouble and just don’t use the word. People modify their speech all the time based on their environment. Do you openly cuss around 5 year olds?

          • Matt

            Well, that would be assault and that person would be going to jail. You don’t have a right to hurt someone just because you don’t like what they say.

          • Anonymous

            You’re a white male living in 2013. No, you have no right to use a word that was used for centuries to denigrate and oppress and entire race of people. Did it ever cross your mind that perhaps the rappers who use this word in their songs should re-evaluate their decisions as well? It’s not your word to use. Deal with it. Get over it. You have more privilege in this country than you know what to do with. Not using one word is not going to hurt you. Stop being such a prick.

          • Matt

            Okay here’s the thing: I don’t actually use this word. I said I did as a rhetorical device to highlight certain issues in the logic of certain individuals.

            Now for you to say I’ve never been through any struggle just based on the color of my skin is an close-minded as many people on here. You’re making certain assumptions about my life without knowing anything about my family’s socioeconomic status, my personal disabilities/deficits, etc. I could very well have grown up much worse off that yourself although I couldn’t possibly know since you haven’t given me any clues to your background besides your skin color.

    • Matt

      Well if it was a rap/hip-hop song I’m guessing “n—-” was used and that not the more offensive “n-word.” And regardless, if its being articulated in the form of a a song, book, etc then it clearly is a reading and not a means of implied prejudice. I mean I’m white and I say n—- in front of my black friends all the time. In fact when we were singing some Tyga this weekend we were all saying it together.

      I’d suggest that you pick you battles appropriately. Being worried about people saying n—- isn’t really solving the problem of “300+ years…of race-based oppression.”

      • Princeton Hynes

        You can’t tell anyone to pick a battle on something you didn’t go through and aren’t still feeling the repercussions of. Or you can, but it means NOTHING. You wanted to have us in slavery, you want to use our word, and NOW you tell us we can’t connect the two. And your friends are wrong for allowing you to use that word and you’re wrong for using it. I say that with a smile on my face and I’d love to speak to you about this further. My full name is on this comment and my e-mail is on Faces. Thanks in advance.

        • What?

          EXCUSE me?

          “You wanted to have us in slavery, you want to use our word, and NOW you tell us we can’t connect the two.”

          Princeton. I appreciate that you’re a proud, black man, but please, take a step back and look at what you just said. Neither I nor any living person wanted to have you in slavery, and to suggest that is highly offensive. Further, to refer to any race as some kind of monolithic entity – even in a positive way – is offensive. Saying that ALL whites today support and responsible for the racist initiatives of some whites (and other races besides) in the past is – dare I say it? – racist.

          • Princeton Hynes

            I think your inherent white privilege poisons your view that PLENTY of people wanted slavery and still want it. And it still exists. I think ALL whites carry white privilege, and because of that I can’t be–dare I say it?–racist to you. Anything I can ever call you will ever affect you societally. So, yeah, I looked at what I said. I don’t think I spoke of a monolithic race–the “you” I was speaking to was a particular type of person, the person who posted this and thinks he can just use a word because his friends don’t (have the courage to?) say anything about it. I think that is the type of person whose attitudes perpetuates modern-day slavery and the sociohistorical implementation of past slavery. Clearer?

          • You

            Yeah, Princeton, sorry, but you’re way out in the deep end here. You didn’t say “some people in the world still want slavery” (and by the way, sexual slavery is probably the biggest issue now)… you said, “YOU wanted to have us in slavery.” I’m not sure how it was at all clear that you were directing “you” (generally reserved as the audience that is reading your writing) at only those pervasive racist “whites” that still want slavery. That’s like saying it was clear the student was merely rapping a song that unknowingly had an offensive word in it and was by happenstance near a group of people that the word would be offensive to. At best it would be ambiguous, but evidence points to the natural reading.

            Also, it’s not “clearer” when you write sentences like: “Anything I can ever call you will ever affect you societally.”

            (P.S. Are “whites” and “blacks” acceptable terms nowadays? I’m getting too old to keep track.)

        • Matt

          My great-grandparents arrived in America after slavery was abolished so no, my family was never directly associated with it. And my father serves an nearly all-African american community so to construe that somehow me or my family are against people of color is patently offensive.

          Regardless, I’m going to trust the three African american medical students I live with over you. They’re highly intelligent people—much more so than most people posting in these comments.

          • Madison

            Is Matt a pseudonym for Chris

          • Matt

            No, Matt is my name.

          • Princeton Hynes

            I guess the kind of logic that says comparing the intelligence of someone you know intimately to someone you only know on StudLife comments is the same logic that says because your father does something for the black community he must not be racist. I don’t know, both of those examples of logic just sound like “But I have a black friend or other in in the community–and that says it’s okay!!” to me.

          • David K

            Princeton, you’re the only person talking any damn sense in this entire comment section. WUSTL seems woefully under-educated about cultural issues of race.

        • Alum

          During the slave trade many African tribes would attack and enslave their neighbors so they could sell them to other slavers.

          It’s entirely possible that some of your ancestors or some of your black friends’ ancestors may be just as culpable, if not moreso, for bringing about slavery, than many white students’ ancestors. Slavery was a diverse trade!

          Just letting you know so that you can direct your misplaced prejudice toward a more diverse group of people.

      • Madison

        You need to re-evaluate your life!

        • Matt

          Thanks for that thought-provoking comment but I’m a medical student who is inventing the next generation treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. I think my life is based on sound principles like helping your fellow man.

          And what are you doing with your life?

          • Madison

            Currently? Laughing at the fact that you’re on this page commenting about how stupid everyone else is… That should get you places. Btw I’m really impressed by your status as a medical student at Wash U. I’ve never met one.

          • Matt

            But I’m already “places.” My future is forever secure.

            And I don’t go to WashU. I moved on to bigger and better things :)

    • student

      Do they even teach history here? Slavery of one form or another has occurred for thousands of years, on every continent, in between and inside of every race. “Wrong” is a useful term, and applies here to the students who were stupid enough to be so insensitive. But “Unfair”? that one is useless. Perspective is critical.

    • Calm

      While I agree with your intended point of racism being intolerable, I would appreciate if you did not lump all people into categories of white or black. Interestingly enough, many groups of people of a variety of skin colors suffer from discrimination and not all whites were slavers (a good number were slaves themselves).

      This event should be used to start a dialogue in this community so something like this does not happen again. We should remain calm and seek out the responsible parties in a clear-headed manner. After all the facts are known, the time for decisions on how to proceed can be made.

  • BB

    If the n word ended with an “a,” its a simple term used in virtually EVERY rap song, black or white rapper. People on the street, spanish, white, or black, or whatever, use the word so frequently its just colloquial in nature. To the “academics” who want to argue this, you’re wrong. Face it, its a colloquial word. Even Samuel L Jackson wouldn’t proceed with an interview with a white person until he said this word.

    If they used the word ending with an “er,” they’re completely in the wrong. And if they used it around a group of black students, that’s hate crime status.

    • Sue

      You’re missing the point. The intention and delivery of the word is far more important than if the word ends in an ‘a’ or ‘er’.

      • Matt

        Singing a song with the n-word ending in A is not the same as yelling, in an inflammatory tone, the n-word ending in er. You can argue it all you want but your argument is weak at best. These students AT WORST were using this song, n-word included, in an indirect manner towards a group of African-american students. At best, they were singing a song that was unrelated to this group. Unless evidence comes out proving a malicious connection it would be ridiculous to punish anyone (none of this would even remotely hold up in a courtroom).

        • Anti-Matt

          You will NEVER in your life understand the emotional response and damage that comes from hearing that word come from a white person’s mouth — be it directed at someone maliciously or casually tossed around within earshot. Never. You’re done.

          • Princeton Hynes


      • Jack ‘n the Box

        Sue, pretty sure that wasn’t the tune you were singing before when you said it was always unacceptable for a “white” “person” to say the word unless academic. What if the intention is merely to sing a beautiful harmony with Ben Folds.

        1:27 –

    • Madison

      You also need to re-evaluate your life! Asap

  • Anonymous

    concerned freshman – How can you not be aware of the words coming out of your mouth? Also, why should it matter whether or not it was on purpose? If I “accidentally” call you stupid (or any other derogatory term), does it make it any less offensive?

  • Dave Wallace

    Sammy X

    Sig Ep X

    SAE X



    Kappa Sig

    Phi Delt

    Sigma Chi

    Theta Xi

    Sig Nu


    • troll

      Dave knows how to ruin a party…as long as he doesn’t have to walk to it

    • Anon

      As long as we still have TKE

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    A succinct explanation of why your use of the N-word offends me:

    If you didn’t need that explanation, I’m sorry for wasting your time.

  • Wustl fraternity alumnus

    An unnamed former Fraternity brother sold cocaine and heroine to high school students. One of them was a wash u professors son. Boooooom. Chew on that wash u.

    Lots of bad s— does go down. Most irregardless of fraternal allegiance.

    When wash u disbanded SAE in 2006 they ruined a truly great organization that bred true gentleman and successful lawyers, doctors, financiers, environmentalists, teachers etc. What they replaced them with were a bunch of hooligans without virtue.

    • andy doe

      Sorry, what? You obviously had no contact whatsoever with the SAE members, or were one of them.

  • Alice Merrill

    Can we please just drop “racially offensive” from the headline and call it what it is, which is “racist?” The former emphasizes the subjectivity of those offended and not the culpability of the racist frat boys in question.

    • True True

      Oh really? Those frat boys are racist?

      What if I told you those frat boys are all dating black women?

      • andy doe

        Then I would tell you that they’re still racist.

        Dating someone of African American descent isn’t a get-out-of-jail free card. People like you with attitudes like that are just trying to find an excuse to be racist. Well too bad, you haven’t found one and you’re still not allowed to be racist just because you date someone of that race.

        Would you say the same about pedophiles? If you’re dating a 30 year old, do you think it’s okay for you to collect illegal pornography?

    • Anonymous

      Don’t use the term “frat boys”. This is reinforcing a very negative stereotype that is often attached to Fraternity Men.

  • Anonymous

    So when a group of African American students were singing rap songs in the village using the N-word, I should have reported that to get them kicked out of school?

    • Sue

      Oh, poor white guy. Life is sooooo unfair because African Americans can say a word that you can’t. Boo freakin’ hoo.

      • Sigh

        Gosh, isn’t racism great when you can direct it at the majority? Let’s try something else.

        That said, OP is comparing apples and oranges.

        • Sue

          I am in the majority, so I don’t think my comment can be characterized as racist (white on white racism?). And I know enough about the history of oppression in this world to know that when whites complain about how they can’t say that word (or other racially-charged words), they’re ignoring the history of oppression that gives that word its power.

          • Sigh

            I, unlike you, did not assume race in my comment. If a black person says blacks shouldn’t be allowed in the same schools as whites, it’s racist. And if you claim that you can’t be racist against a certain group because of the color of your skin, well, that’s a wee bit racist, too.

          • troll

            Watch out! Sue knows history

    • Anonymous

      read a few books about race relations and appropriation before you try and join a conversation you obviously know nothing about.

  • Ashamed Alumnus ’10

    I’m sadly amused by this idea that, if events transpired as described in the above article, the black students became subjected to this incident only by coincidence. Right, so, the SAE pledges could have picked any of the tables to perform a rap song in front of, and they just happened to pick a table with a large number of black students.

    I agree with the commenters below that context is important, and that will come out when there are more facts available. It’s undoubtedly different if they were just performing a rap song with the n-word in it, or, as the rumor I heard went, were very intentionally seeking to offend with the n-word. While those two situations are clearly different, I wonder how different they really are. If there was no “racist intent,” why was that pledge activity chosen? Because it’d be “silly” for white pledges to rap? What’s the stunt here, exactly?

    I also agree that it’s unclear from what we currently know whether the pledges took this action on their own initiative, whether the brothers created conditions that lead to this kind of thing happening, or whether the brothers gave the pledges this exact task. But fraternities rely on this “plausible deniability” excuse all the time, and I think it’s pretty thin gruel. You’re supposed to be a brotherhood built on shared values. You picked these people to represent you. Be men and take responsibility for what was done in your name. Whether it was the idea of the pledges or not, it’s cowardly to abandon people you were ready to call “brothers” and say you had nothing to do with them whatsoever.

    I sincerely hope the facts come out and this incident is much different then it was described. I hope that for everyone involved.

    -A Sad, Ashamed Alumnus

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

    • Sue


      • Suomynona

        I think all never society brings against hate want for good into others before like more?

  • concerned freshman

    I witnessed this – the pledge in question who was rapping was not even looking at anyone besides his pledge brothers. I do not think he was aware the lyrics had the N-word in them, and I’m sure it was accidental that he said it all. I do not think this was targeted or purposeful. SAE would not be so stupid, nor so ignorant.

    • Gee Wiz

      That’s a lie. They went all the way to the back corner of BD, where a large group of black students sat in order to perform the line. Don’t lie or sweep it under the table. BD is huge. They chose that spot on purpose.

    • Common Sense

      Was it an actual song or a freestyle?

      • anonymous

        It was a Dr. Dre song.

    • Sue

      “I do not think he was aware the lyrics had the N-word in them, and I’m pretty sure it was accidental that he said it at all.”

      Kinda hard to recite lyrics without knowing what they are. Even if you’re reading them off the page, you have to recognize the word that you’re saying. And I don’t think that word could “accidentally” pass my lips.

      • Ron?

        While I think we have no way of truly knowing what the intent or understanding in this poor soul’s eyes and mouth were, as a student of psychology and frequent victim of Burgundyism, I am quite aware of the cognitive dissonance possible in reading words and vocalizing them, wether it be on a streaming teleprompter or off an iPhone screen, without any top-down processing involved. This is a well documented phenomena in literature, see: Burgundy et. al., 2004.

    • andy doe

      Actually, I witnessed this too – the pledge in question who was rapping was looking at plenty of other people, scanning the room, and glancing at the students in question.

      He was also 100% aware of what he was saying. Because he was saying it. And last time I checked, unless you have tourettes, a stroke, or some other neurological disorder or critical health issue, it is impossible to say something without thinking of saying it. You have to think about what you’re saying to say it. You have to know what you’re saying. Unless it was some fantastical, magical coincidence that he blurted out gobbledy-gook and it just happened to magically have the same syllables as the N-word, he knew exactly what he was saying. In fact, even if he didn’t realize it was the N-word, he still said the N-word. It’s still racist.

      • troll

        How long did the glance last?

  • Jon Doe

    I would like to see an article done about people taking pictures of kids at the kosher station. It’s as anti-semetic as this act is racist.

    • Gee Wiz

      But if you put in on a scavenger hunt list like they are zoo animals then recite anti-Semitic or insensitive lyrics in their direction then it becomes racist.

  • Anon

    This whole situation is messed up. Many people are jumping to the conclusion that this was an “SAE pledge event.” I don’t think this has been confirmed so why are so many people assuming this? There’s no reason that an entire fraternity should get screwed because some stupid, small group of assholes acted horrendously. And honestly, as a person of mixed race, I have felt/seen racism from almost every race. It’s not just white people that are racist. But unfortunately, this group of guys acted in a way that perpetuated that stereotype.

  • johngalt

    who knows if it was intended to be racist or not? i don’t know when the was the last time I heard a rap song without the n word in it. i don’t know why it is seen as so offensive when a person sings a song, but not offensive when it is being blasted out by celebrity figures.

    • abby

      The use of the N-word by black people and non-black people is completely different in its meaning, implications, and power dynamics. It’s clearly racist here.

      For a white person who reaps an unambiguous benefit in our society from the subjugation of people of color to invade black spaces, appropriate a historically black art form to mock them, and even go so far as to use a word invented by whites to denigrate black people and assert their power over them is absolutely racist.

      I don’t understand why this requires an explanation.

      • Common Sense

        Clearly racist? You don’t have any context information from this article. Mocking them? Once again you are jumping to conclusions.

      • FactThenReact

        I think its because there is a ginormous difference between a white person maliciously shouting the word at a black person and a (likely) nervous freshman who is merely rapping a song. Personally, I don’t think white people should ever say it unless its part of a serious or academic discussion, but I think the reactions thus far to this are acting as if someone just walked up the table and called these kids n***** to their faces out of the blue.

        That’s not to say that it should have been said in the first place, but come on. Insensitive? Perhaps. Idiotic? Absolutely. Racist? Not necessarily. If someone were to read the word aloud, say, from Huckleberry Finn, in front of black students, is that necessarily racist, or is it merely ill-advised (yes, I understand there is a difference in context between literature and a rap song)? However, this is related to pop-culture. Was Michael Scott in The Office racist when he did a Chris Rock impression? Was that acceptable? Why or why not?

        All I’m saying is before everyone jumps on the OMG RACISTS band-wagon, let’s hear the actual story first, figure out what exactly happened, and focus the use of the term “racist” to scenarios where it actually matters (example: when the word in question was written a students car a few years back), not one that appears solely related to rapping the lyrics of a rap song.

      • johngalt

        i guess i didn’t explain my point well enough. my point was, someone, likely black, wrote and sang the song for all audiences to hear. when i listen to rap music and sing along by myself to the lyrics of a song with the n word, i say the n word out loud. i am white. is that racist?? no. did i under my own will elect to say it, yes. however, the singer/write of the song also chose to propagate the use of the word and thus give me a reason to say it. i’m merely singing along to a song i enjoy, not getting some sort of “power trip”. my point was, the community who listens to this type of music (blacks, whites, asians, whatever they may be) should consider their diction and audience before they publicize a song.

        • abby

          If you want to understand why the N-word in the mouth of a white person is never okay, please look into what (many — of course black opinion isn’t unanimous or homogeneous) black thinkers and writers have to say on the matter. They’ll do a much better job explaining than I would. And I’d caution strongly against asserting your opinion on the matter as more relevant or valid than theirs.

          And it’s not your job to police what language black artists use in their music. A lot of black people see themselves as reclaiming the N-word and subverting its power; that doesn’t mean you get to do it too, or repeat it when a black person uses it in a song.

    • Mad Black Man

      “I don’t know why it is seen as so offensive.” That is a laffable statement. But to be quite honest. If you are not of the African-American tradition, where individuals are taught, since birth, of the torrid history of a term used for centuries to oppress and demean, then I guess you would not possibly understand “why it is seen as so offensive.”

      Get a grip man.

      • Upset Man of European Descendance

        Hopefully, even those of us not of the African-American “tradition,” have been taught the horrid and clearly not-laughable history of the word.

  • Confused

    Is there a reason why folks get so upset when someone calls a racist act racist? Is that offensive to people-describing a racist act as racist? Or is that people feel its unfair to hold people accountable for their racist behavior?

    I thought being photographed while eating at the eatery of a university that you pay money to attend simply because you are black would be the most offensive piece of this equation?

    I’m Confused…bro

    • Jon Doe

      For the love of god, they were taking a picture of the kid standing behind the table who was about to begin speaking. I’m sure you’re confused, “bro,” because clearly you have no idea what’s happening in the world around you.

      • Yo

        That’s not what happened. They intentionally sought them out because of scavenger hunt list in order to take pictures of them like they are some type of spectacle. Then rapped disrespectful lyrics directly where they were sitting – alllll the way in the corner of BD. That’s intentional and completely disrespectful.

        • hmm

          Racism: 1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

          2: racial prejudice or discrimination

          I don’t see how this situation has anything to do with racism. Stupid? Offensive? Yes. Racist? No.

          • Annonymous

            They were white men who assumed that they had THE RIGHT to mistreat and humiliate a group of black students. The pledges treated the group of black students as if they were inferior. And don’t try and tell me they didn’t mock or humiliate these students because you were not there. You did not hear the firsthand reports of how those students felt at the end of the day.

            If this was a LGBTQIA group and someone used a slur, the campus would be up in arms. If this was a religious epithet, kids would be going crazy. But it seems as if when it is a racial slur, specifically used to adress black people, we are “overreacting” by demanding a response.

            No one should feel as if they are a spectacle amongst their own student body. We all got into this school, we all pay tuition, so why should people be treated like they are less than others due solely to the color of their skin?

  • Jon Doe

    Did anyone think to ask, why did these pledges do this? For those who are unaware, they were partaking in a scavenger hunt, and had to read rap lyrics out loud and video tape the speaker and the crowd (hence the pictures). While it was undoubtedly an unfortunate place to commit such an act, and nonetheless really, really stupid, to call this a hate crime is silly. Did a group of pledges make a mistake? Yes. Was it a mistake driven by racism and mal-intent? No

    • Princeton Hynes

      Did they say “n—-“? Would there have been a less “unfortunate place” to say that word? In private, perhaps?

    • anonymous

      Finally, some reason

    • andy doe

      So was it the fraternity that told them to create a racially charged situation and act racist and be racist and racist? Or was that their decision?

      Sorry, ignorance is not an excuse. If you don’t know the speed limit of a road and you drive 100 mph for funsies, you are still going to be ticketed, fined, and probably jailed.

      If you create a racist situation and use racist words and act racist because you didn’t know it was wrong….you still created a racist situation, you still used racist words, and you still acted racist. You will still get in trouble whether you knew it was bad or not. Because ignorance is not an excuse.

      AND if you do all of the above during a fraternity-sponsored fraternity activity with fellow fraternity members….well, you’re just a moron because you made it fraternity business. You didn’t make it *appear* like fraternity business. You DID make it fraternity business.

      So again, ignorance is not an excuse. If someone punches you in the face because they don’t like something you said but didn’t realize it was against the law, they still punched you in the face and they will still be punished for punching you in the face.

  • Clint Guidry

    Your headline is inflammatory and incorrect. Nothing about this “targeted” black students. Get your d— facts straight or stop playing at being journalists.

  • frat dreams

    I would bet that the pledges were not told to say whatever offensive things they said. No brother would be stupid enough to put their fraternity nor themselves at risk for a pledge task like that. I’m not an SAE but I especially can’t see one of their brothers doing that. So while those pledges are undoubtedly stupid, we shouldn’t pin this entire thing on SAE while most of us don’t actually know the facts. But based on how WashU operates, SAE has a s—storm comin

    • Princeton Hynes

      I’m sure they’ll find out exactly who was responsible for this beyond the direct respondents, but you do have to admit that there is a history of Greek rites sometimes being based on idiotic/dangerous events.

  • Ezelle Sanford III

    I am sincerely disheartened that this will go down in the University’s history as yet another semi-annual outburst of ignorance and racial intolerance. What is worse is that there is a cohort of students dedicated to teaching others about Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, yet their words fall on deaf ears. I hope this incident brings about discussion for all students on campus to speak about tolerance–not only along lines of race and ethnicity, but along all lines of difference.

    As Dean McLeod would say it is a “Teachable Moment.” I hope all on this campus benefit from this moment, and learn from it. Hopefully we won’t have to keep dealing with regular outbursts of intolerance. Perhaps…

    • Matt

      The chapter has African-american members. Why would they condone another “semi-annual outburst of ignorance and racial intolerance?”

  • Ann Onymous

    “used inflammatory language towards a group of black students”
    are you sure it was towards them? Please get your story straight. The word was said, yes, and thats a terrible thing but it was most definitely not used to offend them, they werent even directing themselves towards them

    • hithere

      Someone rapped the n-word near some black students or something along those lines? Or rather, in the words of Al Sharptons, someone basically got lynched. And slavery exists again. And Obama is a muslim. And he flew the planes into the trade center.

  • Princeton Hynes

    I think the fact that the word was just referred to as the “Django Word” is very telling of the deflective/euphemistic nature of racism, on this campus and elsewhere. Luckily, though, all of these “well, I don’t know if the racist act was racist” posts will not stop action from being taken. Because, whether you would want to admit it or not, action needs to be taken for this and all of the other microaggressive and marginalizing events that occur on this campus. And too soon is not soon enough.

  • A guy in a frat

    I wanna know what houses our having stripper and drug parties???! Is there some secret real fraternity somewhere or are you just that sheltered?

  • anonymous

    The timing of the two events and the decision to recite a rap song containing that word were both horrendous. However, as someone who is friends with several black students in SAE, I know that the fraternity would never sanction anything like this. It is entirely regretful that this occurred, but before the event is investigated further, I disagree with StudLife’s use of claims such as “SAE pledges direct racial slur at black students.” I am anxious to hear what the fraternity has to say.

    • A Lumnus

      “I have several black friends” oh okay I am totally persuaded, thanks.

      • anonymous

        I said that I am friends with several black students who are SAE brothers. How do you think they feel about these accusations toward their fraternity? If you want to believe that a fraternity at Washington University would tell its pledges to direct a slur toward black students, be my guest. I am simply arguing that we need more facts, and StudLife should not use inflammatory language based solely on hearsay. Most likely it was one or a few pledges acting idiotically independent of the fraternity. And they will probably be asked to leave SAE.

        • A Lumnus

          That is a reasonable response, and I agree we need more facts. Word to the wise though, starting your argument with “I have black friends” will not usually help said argument.

          • hithere

            I have lots of black friends. They told me I could start my sentences with “I have black friends.”

          • A wild Lumunus appeared

            It’s a good thing he didn’t start with that

          • I Lluminated

            Word to wise though, ignoring the substance of someone’s comment or rather not understanding a valid point someone made and instead making a snide attempt at moral superiority that in many cases is valid but in this case only demonstrates your ignorance to what was said will not usually help said argument.

            This, as you might understand if you actually read and comprehended his comment, was not the normal “I can do/say X because I have black friends,” it was “Before you accuse the fraternity of being and sanctioning racist behavior, understand that there are multiple black brothers that are members, which brings into question how and why the fraternity would sanction such racist behavior without feeling internal backlash and their own depravity.”

  • A girl

    What’s the Django word?? Quentin Tarantino didn’t come up with that.

    I think it should be acknowledged that this act is not only offensive to the students who witnessed it, but to all students of color, all students who are allies of students of color, and anyone who has ever felt discriminated against of made a mockery. Whether the “N-word” was used intentionally maliciously toward the black students is irrelevant. It should not have been said. Regardless.

  • anon

    Nearby, a gaggle of sorority pledges were apprehended by WUPD for eating unhealthy amounts of the candy taped to their doors and hugging their newly acquired teddy bears too tightly.

    Actually though, it’s amazing how many illegal (and, perhaps more importantly, disgraceful) activities the fraternities get away with. I think everyone (including the administration/police) understands and accepts that some shady things go on at frat parties (underage drinking, drugs, strippers, etc) and that’s fine – but I’ve heard of too many incidents like this that are more worrisome to me. Shameful and immature. They can impose whatever ‘sanctions’ they want on SAE and kick them ten miles off campus but that isn’t going to change the disturbing trend of frat pledge activities that are well past the line of being politically incorrect fun and spill into stupidity.

    • penis

      Yeah we have strippers at our f—— Wash U parties where we’re required to have B&D in attendance. Great point, bro

      • anon

        We have, actually, on several occasions. B&D does not attend parties off campus. This is besides the point though – I’m trying to argue that this is a different kind of immaturity than drugs/alcohol and while I appreciate WUPD looking the other way on that sort of stuff, as they should, this isn’t the first time fraternity-endorsed events have been accused of disgraceful behavior like the alleged incident yesterday. They can do a better job of making sure things like this don’t happen.

    • penis

      yeah we have strippers at our parties bro. you’re an idiot

      • anon

        you clearly were not on campus three years ago, were you…

      • Sigh

        ZBT did; they got in a whole spate of trouble for it.

    • hithere

      Like what?

  • Michelle Romney

    To Definitely not an SAE brother (but actually),

    I really don’t care if you want to argue that the two events are unconnected. You and I both know that they are. And on the slim to none chance that they aren’t, it still doesn’t make the use of the “Django word” as you put it okay. This does not only offend the students sitting at that table, but every person of African decent and every person who has a moral bone in their body. So any way you try to spin it, it is still racial harassment.

  • Wustl Student

    The “n-word” was not directed at us explicitly. However, it was still said while we were sitting there, listening to them, and they knew we were listening to them. The effect that has and had on us ….I don’t think it matters whether it was “intentionally directed ‘inflammatory language towards a group of black students.'”

  • Olivia Suber

    I was correcting it because Claudia Gambrah should also be contacted. Hopefully, StudLife will do so.

  • Anon Alum

    It’s sad to see that nothing has changed even years after I gratuateed from WashU. Studlife is still an extremely poor source for facts and news on campus events. The facts in this article are misleading at best, based on the factual account circulating among alumni from a source who was present during the event.

    • A Lumnus

      A “factual account” which you choose not to share with us, which would probably add to the discussion?

    • O.D.B. McDowell

      It’s sad to see that nothing has changed even years after I graduated from WashU. People still love to dump on Studlife by claiming biased or even libelous reporting (a really serious charge), without ever offering any specifics as to what exactly was “misleading at best.” This is especially true whenever they try to report on anything relating to the Greek community.

      In this case, I’m sure the national SAE chapter issuing that statement along with a cease-and-desist (do you dispute that happened?) probably means the pledges weren’t doing anything wrong at all and will be absolved completely, uh huh.

      • Concerned Reader

        So I take it you worked at StudLife?

  • Kang

    What is more sinister than pledges purposely trying to instigate a group of African Americans?

    The person that made them do it as part of the rush process.

    • 2Kangs

      Because hazing is bad.

    • ThreeKangs

      Stop being so Django bruh.

  • Rect

    Don’t focus on the pledges, focus on the brothers above them pulling the strings who told them to do this.

  • Armand


  • Definitely not an SAE brother (but actually)

    Is there really any evidence that the Django word was directed towards the students in question? Taking the photograph was idiotic and insensitive, but I think it’s irresponsible to say that the pledges intentionally directed “inflammatory language towards a group of black students” when the connection between the photograph and the rap is completely unsupported.

    In other words, there is nothing in this article addressing the issue that the two incidents may have been unrelated acts of pledge shenanigans. The timing may have been unfortunate, but I would want to make sure there is an actual connection before implying racial harassment.

    • Actually not an SAE brother

      While it’s not proven that the pledges were not told to rap in front of blacks after taking a picture of them, the idea that the two are not connected is preposterous.

    • Madison

      The django word? Are you high on glue????

  • Olivia Suber

    Correction: the president of ABS is Claudia Gambrah. Lamley *Lawson is the president of the African Students Association