An African American chef who worked at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at Oklahoma University may be out of a job after the school decided to close the fraternity and expel two students over a video showing SAE members participating in a racist chant.
Howard Dixon, who had worked as a chef in the fraternity house for 15 years, said that while he considers members of SAE his “family,” he doesn’t blame officials for its shuttering.
“I think that was kind of stupid and selfish for them to do something like that,” Dixon told CBS News. “And knowing this is an organization that’s supposed to be about brotherhood. That wasn’t no brotherhood.”
He added: “There won’t be another job like this. This was one of a kind.”
Meanwhile, CBS News reports that another video surfaced Monday night showing Beauton Gilbow, the fraternity’s 78-year-old “house mother,” known as “Mom B,” using a racial slur in 2013.
A crowdfunding campaign launched Monday by an SAE alum to help Dixon “land on his feet” has already raised more than $35,000.
“Today we received the news that some ignorant kids have quickly destroyed something that thousands of men built,” wrote Blake Burkhart, who organized the campaign. “Because of these kids’ actions, many will be affected. None more so than Howard.
“Those of you who lived in the house undoubtedly came to love Howard and his infectious smile (if not his chili dogs),” Burkhart continued. “He was always there to chat with you and, more importantly, to take care of Mom B. Well, that man is going to walk up to the SAE house tomorrow morning and hear that he no longer has a job. He is going to learn who has been working for. And through some cruel twist of fate, he has to lose the job that he has held for over a decade. He is going to lose his job because of a bus full of racist kids. You know and I know that this isn’t the house we lived in.”
On Monday, Oklahoma University president David Boren said an investigation is under way to determine if any of the students seen in the video could be expelled for violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
“We are also going to look at any individual perpetrators, particularly those that we think took a lead in this kind of activity,” Boren said.
On Tuesday, two students "who played a leadership role" in the singing were expelled, the university said.
The video, posted online Sunday, shows several people on a bus participating in a chant that "included a racial slur, referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU’s SAE chapter,” according to the Associated Press.
Earlier Monday, Gilbow expressed shock about the video showing SAE fraternity members participating in the racist chant.
“I heard the words. Unbelievable... This is not SAE,” Gilbow said.