During a conversation with the New York Times last week, actor Will Ferrell called the racist behavior of a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma "a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether."
Ferrell was a member of Delta Tau Delta during his undergraduate days the University of Southern California. The actor and comedian was answering questions from NYT readers at South by Southwest. Ferrell had been asked if he would comment on his own fraternity experience and "why (or why not) fraternity membership is still a worthy consideration for a college student."
"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," Ferrell said. "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."
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at Oklahoma was disbanded after members were caught on tape singing, "There will never be a n****r SAE." Students at SAE chapters -- other than in Oklahoma -- have since come forward saying they too heard the song at their campus.
"I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity," Ferrell continued. "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 paper-maché version 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."