University Of Oklahoma Students Who Led Racist Fraternity Chant Apologize And Are Expelled
President David Boren said Tuesday that he expelled two students who were "leaders" in the singing of a racist chant. They were identified as Levi Pettit and Parker Rice.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren announced Tuesday that he expelled two students identified as playing "a leadership role" in singing the racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon chant recorded on video.
Boren did not identify the two students expelled. He said they created a "hostile environment" for the others.
Other students involved in singing the chant will continue to be investigated, Boren said.
"Once their identities have been confirmed, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action," he said.
During Monday's news conference Boren said university officials "will look at all possible punishment for the student leaders most involved in the incident…up to and including expulsion.
He said his legal team was working to see if action could be taken against individual fraternity members involved in the video under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, on which the university's discrimination policy was based.
Boren also announced that the university had severed ties with Sigma Alpha Epsilon and that its members were to leave the house by midnight. Boren said that the fraternity would not be allowed to return to the university as long as he was president.
One of the students featured in the video has been identified in multiple media reports as Parker Rice, a 19-year-old freshman from Dallas.
The university's student newspaper named Rice as the leader of the chant and one of the students expelled.
He was also named by the Daily Mail.
According to online records, Rice has two brothers and went to high school at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. He played football while in high school.
A former classmate told the Daily Mail that Rice was "privileged," but most students at the school were. They added that there was more than one graduate from Jesuit on the bus in the video.
"In my honest opinion, he was following his frat brothers," the classmate said. "I don't believe he is a racist, just wanted to fit in. It's fraternity culture. You do what the elders do so you fit in. He truly is a nice guy, but I do question things now."
Rice later released a statement to the Dallas Morning News, saying the fraternity brothers had been taught the song and his actions had been fueled by alcohol. He added those were not excuses.
"I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night. It was wrong and reckless. I made a horrible mistake by joining into the singing and encouraging others to do the same. On Monday, I withdrew from the university, and sadly, at this moment our family is not able to be in our home because of threatening calls as well as frightening talk on social media."
Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas said on Twitter that a former student has been identified as the leader in the video, but did not name the student.
As parents of Levi, we love him and care for him deeply. He made a horrible mistake, and will live with the consequences forever. However, we also know the depth of our son's character. He is a good boy, but what we saw in those videos is disgusting. While it may be difficult for those who only know Levi from the video to understand, we know his heart, and he is not a racist. We raised him to be loving and inclusive and we all remain surrounded by a diverse, close-knit group of friends.We were as shocked and saddened by this news as anyone. Of course, we are sad for our son – but more importantly, we apologize to the community he has hurt. We would also like to apologize to the – entire African American community, University of Oklahoma student body and administration. Our family has the responsibility to apologize, and also to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Our words will only go so far – as a family, we commit to following our words with deeds.To our friends and family, thank you for your kind comments and prayers. They are very comforting in this difficult time.