Two University of Oklahoma students who were involved in a racist Snapchat video featuring a white girl in blackface have permanently left the school, officials announced on Monday.
In the video, which went viral on Friday after another student tweeted it, a white student is smearing black paint on her face while her friend laughs and records, telling her friend, “Stop! You’ve got too much. That’s paint, not a face mask.”
The camera then flips, showing two blonde women giggling as the one in blackface says “I am a nigger” to the camera. The university was quick to condemn the video and said Friday it had launched an investigation. On Saturday, the university's Theta Gamma chapter of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, also known as Tri Delta, confirmed that it had expelled the student who had recorded and posted the video from the sorority, calling her behavior “abhorrent.”
On Monday, OU President James Gallogly announced that the two women had left school of their own volition. Officials were not able to expel the students, he explained, because they had recorded the video off-campus, which created “legal boundaries” in how OU could respond as a public university.
“Those students won’t return to campus,” the president said at a press conference. “This type of behavior is not welcomed here and is condemned in the strongest terms by me and by our university.”
Calling the Snapchat post “demeaning,” Gallogly told reporters that the two sophomores had been “very surprised by the reaction” to the video.
“Under the circumstances, they could see that our culture rejects this kind of behavior in no uncertain terms,” he said. “I think it became very clear to them that this type behavior is not only local news, but state news and national news.”
Gallogly said the university is still investigating whether there was a third student involved in the racist recording.
Outraged, OU students had initially criticized their university for not taking any disciplinary action against the students who made the video, and for issuing a statement saying that the sophomores had offered to apologize.
Gallogly explained that school officials first heard of the video on Friday and began looking into it, but did not know when the students recorded it.
“It very clearly is racist,” he said Monday. “It's on its face racist and we should call it what it is.”
The University of Oklahoma's Black Student Association issued a strongly worded statement saying that it was “not surprised” by the blackface video. The statement referenced a 2015 incident at the university, in which members of the school's chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were recorded singing a racist song on a bus. After an investigation, the school expelled two students involved in the video and shut down the SAE chapter.
In another response, the National Association of Black Journalists stated that “in the year 2019 it is disappointing that we still have to deal with incidents such as this.”
In his remarks Monday, Gallogly recognized that the school has faced two serious racist controversies in recent years and is in need of “systematic” change.
“More needs to be done,” he said. “I heard them. More will be done.”
Gallogly confirmed that he had accepted an invitation to address students at a rally against racism organized by the Black Student Association.