When the University of Oklahoma kicked a fraternity chapter off campus Monday over a video of frat members allegedly singing a racist chant, there was an unexpected casualty: the frat house’s black chef.
Howard Dixon worked at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at OU for 15 years and considered the frat members his “family,” according to CBS News. While he told the news outlet that he’d miss working for the organization, he reacted to the video of SAE members chanting the n-word and referencing lynching with frustration.
“I think that was kind of stupid and selfish for them to do something like that,” Dixon told CBS News. “And knowing this is an organization, and knowing this is an organization that’s supposed to be about brotherhood. That wasn’t no brotherhood.”
But one SAE alum set out to prove that the fraternity’s spirit of brotherhood didn’t die with the shuttering of the OU chapter.
Blake Burkhart told the university’s student newspaper, the OU Daily, that he set up a fundraising campaign on the website Indiegogo “to make the best of a bad situation and give Howard some financial stability while he is forced to look for a job due to circumstances outside of his control.”
The fundraiser had netted more than $36,000 of its $50,000 goal as of Tuesday morning.
“That man is going to walk up to the SAE house tomorrow morning and hear that he no longer has a job,” Burkhart wrote on the fundraising page. “He is going to learn who has been working for. And through some cruel twist of fate, he has to lose the job that he has held for over a decade. He is going to lose his job because of a bus full of racist kids.”
“You know and I know that this isn’t the house we lived in,” he added. “I’m positive Howard knows this too.”