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 Pettit and Rice are from Texas.
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.”
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.
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