Dallas-Area Fraternity Members In Video Apologize For Racist Chant | KERA News

Dallas-Area Fraternity Members In Video Apologize For Racist Chant

Mar 11, 2015

A former University of Oklahoma fraternity member who was shown in a video chanting a racial slur issued an apology Tuesday, as did the parents of a second student.

In a statement emailed by his father, Parker Rice said the incident that was caught on video was "likely was fueled by alcohol," but "that's not an excuse."

"I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night," Rice said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press by his father. "It was wrong and reckless."

Meanwhile, the parents of another student seen on the video, Levi Pettit, released a statement that said, "he made a horrible mistake, and will live with the consequences forever."

Both students are from North Texas. Rice is a graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas. Pettit is a graduate of Highland Park High School.

The chant referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

OU President David Boren has severed ties with the fraternity. On Tuesday, he expelled the two students who appeared to be leading the chant but did not release their names. Boren said others involved would face discipline.

Rice said in his statement that he withdrew from the university Monday. The statement from Pettit's parents did not address his status with the university.

Rice said threatening calls to his family have prompted them to leave their North Dallas home. He called the incident "a horrible mistake" and "a devastating lesson" for which he is "seeking guidance on how I can learn from this and make sure it never happens again."

"Yes, the song was taught to us, but that too doesn't work as an explanation. It's more important to acknowledge what I did and what I didn't do. I didn't say `no.'"

Pettit's parents, Brody and Susan Pettit, said in a statement posted online that their son "is a good boy, but what we saw in those videos is disgusting." The Pettits apologized "to the entire African-American community (and) University of Oklahoma student body and administration."

In Dallas, Jesuit president Mike Earsing said his school is committed to “create a culture of justice and equality for all” and calls on people to “fight against a culture of racism [and] bigotry”

“I am appalled by the actions in the video and extremely hurt by the pain this has caused our community,” Earsing said in a statement posted on Twitter. “It is unconscionable and very sad that in 2015 we still live in a society where this type of bigotry and racism takes place.” 

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KGOU, the NPR member station in Norman, Oklahoma, has more on recent developments.

Full statement from Levi Pettit's parents

From Brody and Susan Pettit: "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.

"We ask that the media and public please respect our family’s privacy as we come together to heal and determine next steps."