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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  March 14, 2015 10:39pm-11:01pm EDT

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active in advocating for students. host: let's get to the issue in the news. students at the fraternity sae at the university of oklahoma participating in a racist chant. your reaction to that tape and the subsequent fallout. guest: obviously, like anyone else, what you see on tape is deplorable and repugnant. start with the things that the university of oklahoma and sigma alpha epsilon got right, because they are numerous. i commend the national leaders of sigma alpha epsilon, who i know well for their handling of the situation. as soon as this video came to light, their executive leadership team met and followed the procedures outlined in their organizations bylaws and constitution's. they went through recognition. they have been supportive of
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their chapters nationwide who are suffering from being associated with the chapter locally at oklahoma. what is important for folks to understand that sigma alpha epsilon, like every national fraternity and sorority, has high standards for their members and their chapters. in taking these actions this week they are enforcing the standards and demonstrating to the rest of their members and chapters a you must live up to those standards. all the private commentators agree, they are all within the rights to take the actions they took this week. when you turn to the campus, i have been extremely impressed, and most observers have been impressed by the way that community has come together and rally against racism. it is notable that the football and asked about team took time out from practice -- football and basketball teams made it clear to the world that the students bodies -- didn't bodies
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reject racism. a noted leader, a former senator , of great renown, probably one of the nation's most prominent university president, he has been very involved in this action. a lot of people understand his decision to expel the students at the center of the video. it seems like that might not be on very firm legal ground, they undercut the freedom of association and freedom of these rights of those students. it will be interesting to see as you might have seen, some of the students and some members are looking at legal representation, maybe suing the university down the line. host: if you want to join this conversation, democrats can call in at 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. and dependence, -- independence,
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202-748-8002. guest: can i add one more thing about the university of oklahoma? things like this spread across social media, and one of the things that struck me very -- a very public letter written by the president of another chapter at the university of oklahoma, the president of five delta theta, an african-american member of the greek system. made some outstanding points and i encourage folks to find acting medications on facebook, or twitter. he talked about how the afghan american and the greek experience -- african-american experience any greek experience are one or him at the diversity of oklahoma. he rejected the thought that sigma alpha epsilon was representative of the university of oklahoma, what happened in that video or, in the broader context of the greek world at large. he talked about how the media
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focuses on that outlying events instead of small, daily acts that fraternity and sorority members do to help their communities every day. we have gotten far more attention for a stated of video that for the efforts than the students took to raise half $1 million for a local hospital. host: some critics saying this is not necessarily an outlier of evidence for the histories of fraternities in this country. a headline from the "washington post." a piece in today's "new york times," for attorneys can't fix themselves.
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what would your reaction be? guest: you can take that and change it to higher education. what was higher education like at the time he is talking about? there were very few americans that went to college anytime he is talking about. they were generally speaking people of privilege. all organization on those campuses were reflective of eastern body. fraternities and stories can only examine the from the student body on that campus. we are only reflective of the diversity available on a campus to us. host: maryland, larry, line four democrats. good morning. caller: i am listening with interest. i agree -- everybody is entitled to free speech, but i encourage people to find and read an
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article in the "washington post." it highlights the insidious effects that these types of hate speech and behavioral has down the road on people's lives. people of this -- when we are people of this character to get through the system and wind up in leadership roles, the impact is never obvious. the discrimination and racism is subtle. which highlights what you see right now in our current -- in our country. a lot of the people came through the ranks and detected. now you have a black man in the white house, they began -- all kinds of restructuring to make the man fail. host: i will let you respond to
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that, kevin o'neill. the latest news out of that fraternity in oklahoma. guest: i had trouble following some of the question, but i heard the reference to eugene robinson and the peace earlier in the week. i have read most of the commentary that is out there. where fraternities and sororities -- they have very high expectations for their members. that's what sets them apart from clubs. they set of values for their members and those do -- those members strive to live their daily lives through those values in that it in the organization -- embedded in those organizations. when they fail, their actions have consequences. their actions were soundly rejected. their fellow members of the greek community, by the broader student body, by the broader campus, it is obviously brought
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up an important discussion. it is important to realize that fraternities and sororities have a great deal of diversity on most campuses and in most chapters. it is an outstanding opportunity for students to grow as leaders and to learn about folks from other walks of life to live together and work together in a way that will benefit them in a number of facets going on in life. host: do you have numbers on that diversity? guest: i don't have individual diversity numbers, because the groups themselves don't typically keep that sort of information. what i was going to tell you there was a pullout last fall by gallup, the first real, meaningful poll data, 30,000 college students surveyed, what it demonstrated was that at five different facets of life joining a fraternity or sorority
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had a meaningful difference in the quality of life that you enjoyed long-term, be it financial, more likely to finish your college education, more likely to be actively -- academically engaged, more likely to be engaged as a community leader or volunteer. more likely to enjoy your work in your everyday experience. we are focused on that, that is one of the reason fraternity and sorority membership is at an all-time high. there are folks that focus on this generation being lost in their ipads, phone, texting, the reality is there is a store nearly -- a store and or a demand for fraternities and sorties, because they provide an opportunity for students to grow and learn in a context that does not otherwise exist on campus. host: bart fraternities -- i am not ruling out a lawsuit said stephen jones, a lawyer hired by the sigma alpha epsilon chapter.
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we are wanting -- seeking someone other resolution to the matter in the face of the closing of that chapter being kicked off cap -- campus. two of the members being kicked off schools. independent line. guest: caller: a lot of these campuses are microcosm of our country as a whole. to hear that someone has made a racial slur, it does not surprise me, it happens every day, whether it is publicly noted or not. i do not know why anyone is surprised. i know strides are being taken to have more diversity but, on campuses, you have black sororities and you have white sororities. the university of maryland, i don't think there's one black sorority. it does not surprise me, and it
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should not surprise anyone that racial slurs and stuff like this happen. it happens everyday. host: in today's "new york times," says the racist video is a window into a huge problem at fraternities on college campuses. he says greek life on campus is worth preserving, but before the next shocking video, schools must confront the inequality that the greek system has managed to preserve. guest: there is probably a reason i use the "new york times" to read my fish every morning. i disagree strenuously. they provide minimum and for people to live and work together in a variety of contexts. for most of the 700,000 members spread across 12,000 chapters and more than 800 campuses, they are getting a chance to be involved in a diverse community that maybe they didn't have before in high school or growing
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up. i think they are part of the solution, this is the most diverse generation ever. the instances of racism they face remain challenging, that they have made significant strides over prior generations. this generation of students has said, like their fathers, they want to be part of the solution, fraternities and sororities are active in working in social justice issues every day. that is especially true for african-american fraternities and sororities, which were founded to help that first generation of college graduates go back, get back, to those communities and help them move forward. host: flower mound, texas i'm a democrat line, george's waiting. -- george is waiting. caller: i have a different opinion about the chapter. we are eastern europeans. in eastern europe, soviet union, whatever, young students of
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organizations were very much dependent of the political life of the state. they were a submission of the government. here, i see an extreme -- here come a there is another extreme. i don't know if this is that chapter prevents them from doing that. when they make mistakes or what is happened in oklahoma. which is clearly a bigger problem. when they make mistakes in taking an attitude, or political attitude that shows their concern for the future of this country, are there any
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limitations? host: are you saying you want to see more oversight of fraternities and sororities by outside groups? caller: yes, they have to show being more active in political life. guest: i think it is important glad to hear that you moved here to the united states where we enjoy freedom of association and the opportunity to enjoy things like fraternities and sororities and exercise our right to be -- to be with people we want to be with an exercise our rights to free speech, usually means making people in the majority uncomfortable him otherwise that freedom of speech right without be worth very much at all. fraternities and sorties are highly regulated on college campuses. they are governed by state and federal law. we work together in partnership with the host institutions. they have professional staff who work closely with these
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organizations as they do with other student organizations. the vast majority of their activities are on file with the university oftentimes advance permission is required. most institutions would tell you that the vast majority of their leadership in other student organizations comes from members of fraternities and sororities. those tend to be the most engaged students, those folks generally go on to have a much higher engagement in the political life and fabric of the united states then members that did not join fraternities and sororities. host: marilyn, independent line. you are on with kevin o'neill. go ahead. caller: i have three comments -- once you make about the kids. another to make about the fraternities in general and
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another about black people. those kids that -- they learned that once they joined the sorority, i don't know why they're trying to treat this as a racial incident, when the kids learn that song when they join their sorority. the africans that join the greek sorties, there are no black sorority, all of the sorties are greek. i do not know why africans would want to join something greek and take it is progressive. in my opinion, about sororities, i look at them as men's colts -- cults. they do ritualistic practices that is based in satanism. host: i will let you respond. guest: let's take that in order there is no evidence at the
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university of oklahoma or any other case that any of these organizations are advocating or teaching their members to engage in acts that anyone would perceive as racist. that is a ridiculous assertion to make. you said there are no black sororities, i guess that is a misperception we can clear up quickly. there are nine predominantly african-american fraternities and sororities all started around the beginning of the 20th century. they are all in the same association, many of the black fraternities, they have traditional african-american fraternities, and they are also members of the north american in a fraternity tousle. -- counsel. one of those sororities, delta sigma they are was just on capitol hill, they are couple
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thousand community leaders come to town. the vast majority of african-american members of congress are themselves alumni of one of those nine organizations. they are proud members and they think those organizations make a huge difference, not only in their communities, but in america as a whole. as for black magic and cu lts, i do not think there is much to that. host: republican line in louisiana. caller: it is really sad that so many people are ill informed about what the greek system does. first of all it is a group of people that come together to live in unity any system stresses that fellowship, and
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also scholarship, and a community service. i was initiated into phi delta theta in 1968. i think it is so cool that the president of the phi delt chapter at okolona university -- oklahoma university is a really neat guy who happens to be black. opportunity chapters, they have their own unique personalities their own different -- the sae 's at ou screwed up, but that is not indicative of for trinity's and sororities at large. -- for turner these -- fraternities and sororities at large. host: one of our previous
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callers said that the more oversight of fraternities and sororities -- would you agree with that and -- if so how? caller: there is. at the university of arkansas, they had behavior about three years ago, that chart -- that caused them to lose their charter. a national fraternity. they had to earn it back. it involved drinking. the national fraternities do have some very strict oversight. i would wager that sae, the national sae what have come down on these guys hard if president doran had not. guest: i want to make sure
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people understand that sigma alpha epsilon close that chapter at the university of oklahoma. independent of the president because of the accident -- because of the incident and they were not indicative of the organization. for trinity's and sororities had done a good job translating who they are, the largest value-based groups. the largest providers of community service hours and expertise on college campuses today. the second largest landlord of college students housing a quarter of a million students across the country. and therefore reducing the tax burden on public universities that otherwise have to build facilities for those students. they are highly regulated. the reason we know that regulation is working is precisely because, when there is a problem, those problems are getting addressed. maybe privately, or in this


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