Two members of Oklahoma University’s SAE fraternity, who are at the center of controversy surrounding a racist video, were identified earlier today via a series of statements made through news outlets and social media. The video, which was made public earlier this week, shows OU SAE members repeatedly using a racial epithet and making references to the lynching of African-Americans.
According to Dallas/Fort Worth NBC 5, 19-year-old Parker Rice of Dallas, Texas, is one of the OU SAE members who features prominently in the above-noted video. Rice’s identity was confirmed through a public statement issued by Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, which Rice attended before entering Oklahoma University.
Rice later released a statement expressing regret for his actions and advising that he has withdrawn from OU.
“I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night,” said Rice in his remarks to NBC 5. “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.”
In his comments, Rice acknowledged that he consumed alcohol prior to the scene captured in the video and he confirms this was a likely factor in his conduct.
A second OU SAE member featured in the video has been identified as Dallas-area resident Levi Pettit. While Pettit has not formally commented on the situation, his parents confirmed their son’s involvement in the controversy through a public statement, which was also shared by NBC 5 via their web site.
“As parents of Levi, we love him and care for him deeply,” said Pettit’s parents. “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.”
Oklahoma City station KFOR-TV reports that OU President David Boren has expelled two students associated with the above-noted video. OU declined to identify the students by name, invoking the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as the basis for that decision. According to CNN, Oklahoma University has not indicated that further expulsions are forthcoming, but Boren asserts that he will not allow the OU SAE chapter to reopen on the campus.