Date of Award





Communication - Communication Studies Track


Communication Department


This thesis examines the incident of Sigma Alpha Epsilon as a case study to analyze the rhetorical strategies that seek to restore an organization’s public image in the face of grave public offense. This thesis demonstrates how SAE national headquarter de-emphasize the idea of “tradition” that grounds its organizational character in order to avoid generalization from the public regarding the racism demonstrated by the University of Oklahoma chapter. By doing so, SAE reconstructs its image as a national organization that was misrepresented by the inappropriate and public actions of a few members. Understanding how apology works allows us to become a better critic and consumer of news and scandals we encounter in media. In the following, there will be a review of the literature in the field of communication studies to outline the previous research that informs my analysis. Afterwards, a rhetorical analysis will be provided. Applying the theory of apology from the communication studies, there will be an illustration of the rhetorical strategies used by the SAE national headquarters representatives to face the scandal to restore its organizational image.

Included in

Communication Commons