NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma on Friday plans to disclose the results of its investigation into a racist fraternity chant that was captured on video, including any disciplinary action it will take against members of the now-defunct fraternity.
University President David Boren is expected to discuss the Norman school’s findings at a noon press conference. The school already has disbanded its Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter and expelled two students who it said were leading the chant. In the video, students on a bus can be seen taking part in a chant that includes references to lynching and uses a racial slur to describe how the fraternity would never accept black members.
A lawyer for the SAE chapter said this week that an agreement had been reached in which no other members of the fraternity will be expelled. Attorney Stephen Jones also said the two students whom Boren expelled actually withdrew from the university first.
One of those students, Levi Pettit, publicly apologized for his role in the chant at a new conference Wednesday in which he was flanked by black community leaders. Pettit, who is from the Dallas enclave of Highland Park, answered a few questions from reporters but declined to say who taught him the chant.
“The truth is what was said in that chant is disgusting … and after meeting with these people I’ve learned these words should never be repeated,” Pettit said.
A second student from the Dallas area, Parker Rice, also issued a statement apologizing for his role in the chant.
Isaac Hill, the president of the university’s Black Student Association, met personally with Pettit and said he believes his apology was sincere. But he said he would like to hear from the others who took part in the racist chant.
“As we know, it wasn’t just Levi and Parker on that bus. There were multiple people,” said Hill, a junior from Midwest City. “We look forward and hope to get more than just his apology, but an apology from everyone.”
The board of trustees and alumni of the school’s SAE chapter released a statement a few days after the video was released acknowledging the chant surfaced at the chapter “three to four years ago and was not immediately and totally stopped. It should have been.”
The national Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity also disbanded its OU chapter and announced it was taking steps to become more inclusive, including by requiring all of its members, nationwide, to go through diversity training and by setting up a confidential hotline for people to report inappropriate behavior.
SAE began collecting racial and ethnic data in 2013. Approximately 3 percent of SAE’s reporting members identified as African-American and 20 percent identified as non-white, according to Blaine Ayers, the national fraternity’s executive director.
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