US fraternity member: Racist chant was ‘horrible mistake’
DALLAS (AP) — A former University of Oklahoma fraternity member who was shown in a video chanting a racial slur has issued an apology, as have the parents of a second student.
The apologies came after OU President David Boren expelled the two students who appeared to be leading the chant. He did not release their names. Boren said others involved would face discipline.
Protests and rallies have been held every day on the campus in Norman since the release earlier this week of the video.
The chant referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. A fraternity is a social organization of male college students.
In a statement Tuesday, former OU student Parker Rice 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.”
“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.”
A Dallas-area advocacy group, the Next Generation Action Network, said a peaceful protest was planned at Rice’s family home.
The Rev. Dominique Alexander, who leads the group, said protesters want to send a message: “We’re not going to stand for that.”
Dallas police Maj. Jimmy Vaughan police will monitor the protest and make sure traffic isn’t blocked along the residential street. Officers and media have been at the house, but the family doesn’t appear to be there.
Meanwhile, the parents of another student seen in the video, Levi Pettit, released a statement saying, “he made a horrible mistake, and will live with the consequences forever.”
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 Texas home. He said Saturday’s incident was “likely was fueled by alcohol,” but “that’s not an excuse.”
“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,’” his statement said.
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.”
Also Tuesday, Beauton Gilbow, the fraternity’s “house mom,” issued a statement that addressed a video from 2013 showing her repeating a racial slur as music plays in the background. Gilbow said she was singing along to a song. She said she was “heartbroken” by the portrayal that she was racist but understood how the video must appear in the context of the week’s events.
A “house mom” is a housing director who might oversee staff and finances at a sorority or fraternity house.