Majority of Americans back SAE closure and expulsions

March 16, 2015, 2:29 PM GMT+0

Most Americans think the University of Oklahoma made the right decision to close the SAE frat and expel two students for racist chanting

Last week a video emerged of members of the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma singing a racist song and promising that black people would never be allowed to join the frat. The chapter in question was shut by the university, expelled from the national SAE organization and two of the students most prominently involved in the racist chanting were expelled from the University of Oklahoma. David Boren, president of the university, was particularly vociferous in condemning the incident saying that racists had no place at the University of Oklahoma.

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans approve of how the University of Oklahoma has handled the SAE racism scandal. 59% say that it was the right decision to shut the SAE fraternity, while only 15% think it was the wrong decision. 57% also say that it was the right decision to expel two students who were prominently involved in the racist chanting that led to the shutting of the frat, while only 11% think that was the wrong decision. Support for the decision was high across all demographics, with 55% of white people and 48% of Republicans saying that it was right to expel the two students. Support for expulsion was lowest (45%) among under-30s.

Support for the harsh action taken against the fraternity may reflect the perception that behavior like that witnessed in the video is at least somewhat common in college fraternities. 21% of Americans say that racism is very common in frats, while 45% say that it is somewhat common. 26% say that it is somewhat rare and only 8% think it is very rare. There is not a major racial divide on this issue, either, as 64% of white Americans and 75% of black Americans think frat racism is common.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.