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OU’s pro-Trump Phi Delta Theta frat harasses Native American protesters

Casey Holcomb
An OU Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother stands in front of a Native American protester Saturday in Norman.
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NORMAN, Okla. – Saturday evening, as Donald Trump dined with the Okie elite on catered Benvenuti’s and drunken college football fans watched their beloved team get crushed by Ohio State, Norman activists took to Facebook to make charges against the University of Oklahoma’s Phi Delta Theta chapter, claiming that the fraternity intimidated and harassed peaceful Native American protesters.

From the original Facebook post by Norman activist Casey Holcomb:

“Here are some photos of the racist fraternity members from OU's Phi Delta Theta chapter. These young Trump supporters targeted and harassed people of color and Native American folks who attended the anti-Trump rally today.

OU's Phi Delta Theta members singled out indigenous folks and were extremely aggressive and confrontational with protesters. The photos tell a part of the story before Norman Police came. Law enforcement let too much time pass before stepping between the aggressor fraternity members and the peaceful demonstrators.

The national Phi Delta Theta organization needs to hear about this. They should be condemning the disgusting behavior of these fraternity members and their blatant, racist targeting of the Native Americans present at today's demonstration.”

What apparently started the incident, from collected reports, is that many protesters standing on the corner of Chautauqua and Timberdell moved off the public area to get out of the sun for a few minutes and rest under a tree. This group included many Caucasians, children, disabled persons and a handful of Native Americans. A few moments later, male members of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity charged over and told the protesters they were on “their” land, specifically pointing to the Native American protesters.

“We weren't allowed to sit in the shade on ‘their land’ even with everyone else sitting there. Specifically Jaylen, myself, and another Native women were targeted by these frat guys,” said Native activist Jacy Santana Chapman via Facebook.

Red Dirt Report spoke directly to Holcomb on Sunday evening.

“There’s a public sidewalk that runs right down Chautauqua Street, where we were on, and the moment I showed up I was told that we were already having problems with some people across the street and we had to stay on one side of the easement,” Holcomb said. “But nearby was a shade tree, and a drainage ditch and with the sheer amount of people we had out, some people needed to be in the shade. The frat guys then came over and they targeted, specifically singled out and targeted, the Indigenous protesters that were holding signs showing solidarity with the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) protesters. There were white people back there too, standing in the shade as well, but they didn’t bother them. They mobbed up around the Indigenous protesters specifically.”

Video footage, from numerous witnesses has been posted to Facebook corroborate this story.

“I stepped in to try to help as a police liaison,” Holcomb continued. “They were trying to tell the protesters they needed to move, but at the same time, these frat guys were mobbing up on the protesters, so what I did was step in and told these frat boys, ‘Look, law enforcement is here. You need to stop talking to the protesters and deal with the police. Why are you still bother these people?’

Even with police there, the fraternity members continued to be “confrontational” with protesters, including one frat member crafting a sign the read “I’m with Stupid” and purposefully standing next to a physically disabled protester in a wheelchair.

“This was a personalized attack against the Native American protesters. I believe that. I absolutely do,” Holcomb said. “I told everyone, including the numerous non-Native American protesters that were standing under the shade tree that if you do not want to be arrested, then you can either move up here with us on the other side of the sidewalk, where it is public property; otherwise, you might be subject to arrest. Eventually everyone moved, but, as soon as police left, there were still plenty of white people under the shade and the frat boys left them alone. But they continued to be very antagonistic towards Natives, disabled people, people of color…just generally being douchebags, I don’t know how else to put it.”

Also at the protest was current U.S. Senate candidate Sean Braddy, who, backed up this version of events.

“The fraternity members were arguing that this was private property and the lady was trying to tell them, ‘Hey, my kids are sitting under the tree because it’s hot.’ Now, if you had been there and seen it, it was so ridiculous, it was just like a small patch of grass by the curb,” Braddy said. “It was a bigoted attack. For them to push the issue just out of spite, it was just ridiculous. It was just the most ridiculous thing.”

This is not the first time the Phi Delta Theta fraternity has been accused to racist and misogynistic practices. In October 2014, the Texas Tech University chapter of Phi Delta Theta had its charter removed following a party the chapter threw famously featuring a banner stating “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal,” while according to USA Today, in 2015 the Georgia Institute of Technology chapter was under investigation after allegedly shouting racial slurs at a black female student.

Most recently, the University of Pennsylvania chapter of Phi Delta Theta was placed on probation this past Christmas when they publicly released a holiday photo featuring a Black blow-up sex-doll, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian. Critics accused the picture of being “deeply misogynistic and racist,” as well as “flippant” in its marginalization of both the female and Black community.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Red Dirt Report is attempting to contact the fraternity. We hope to have a comment from them soon.

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Louis Fowler

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