While promoting Get Hard at South By Southwest this past week, Will Ferrell answered a few fan-submitted questions for the New York Times. One of the more prominent topics was the recent closing of the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, which was shut down after a video of its members singing a racist chant surfaced online.
Ferrell — who himself was a member of a fraternity while in college — spoke out against the SAE video, calling the incident “a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether.”
Q: Will, we are fraternity brothers of Delta Tau Delta, albeit different chapters and years. The recent awful situation with SAE has brought out the “frat haters” in droves. Could you comment on your own fraternity experience and why (or why not) fraternity membership is still a worthy consideration for a college student? — Stephen Browning, Seattle
A: The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary. Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them. And when it’s governed by those kind of rules, then they’re still beneficial. But you gotta be careful. I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity. We were considered good enough to get the exchanges with the good sororities. We couldn’t get anyone to vote on anything, but if you needed 40 guys to show up and build a 20-foot-tall papier-mâchéversion of the Matterhorn, we were there and ready. But we didn’t take it too seriously. It was just about having fun. But I think it’s an interesting dilemma for universities these days. (Via New York Times)
Since SAE’s University of Oklahoma chapter closed its doors, an additional video of a frat member’s mom singing the n-word popped up. The fraternity plans to sue the university — claiming they are being unfairly “tarred and feathered as racists,” and that the situation is being “exploited” by the institution.