George Desdunes before he was killed in a hazing incident with SAE fraternity
Four years ago Cornell University closed down their chapter
of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Many members of the fraternity left the school altogether. They had just killed a man.
George Desdunes, an aspiring doctor, was a 19-year-old sophomore from Brooklyn, New York, and the son of Haitian immigrants. His hands and feet were tied with duct tape and zip ties. Blindfolded, he was given so much alcohol that he died within a few hours of the hazing. All alone and completely unconscious, he was found dead by a college cleaning crew the following morning. His mother filed a $25 million wrongful death suit in the case.
On its own merit, the hazing death of George Desdunes is tragic, but when viewed in light of recent racism that has been exposed within the SAE fraternity, one has to wonder if George Desdunes was treated any differently because he was black. When a popular fraternity chant song has violent lines about lynching black men, everything should be on the table.
SAE members from the University of Oklahoma were recently recorded chanting:
“There will never be a n*gg*r in SAE.
There will never be a n*gg*r in SAE.
You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me
There will never be a n*gg*r in SAE.”
A month before this chant was recorded, the same chant was being reported
as "the most popular" at the same fraternity at the University of Texas. Before this, the University of Oklahoma SAE "house mother" was recorded using racial slurs
Since 2000, Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapters have been cited for egregious racism at Clemson, Washington University, Oglethorpe, Baylor, Valdosta State, and more.
Racism is not just a nuisance, it's dangerous. It devalues an entire race of people and makes their lives significantly more disposable to others—be it a white fraternity or police officers around the country.