Sigma Alpha Epsilon trustees at the University of Oklahoma said in a statement Wednesday night that the fraternity brothers' racist chant was nothing new. The board said it found that "a horrible cancer entered into the OU chapter of SAE three to four years ago and was not immediately and totally stopped" as it should have been.
"We are sincerely remorseful for the pain that this terrible chant has caused and would ask for forgiveness," the board said in the statement, which was provided to CBS News. "We hope that this despicable situation will forever change an atmosphere that would even allow an incident like this to take place."
OU's SAE chapter was closed this week after the publication of a video showing several members singing, "There will never be a n----- in SAE. You can hang them from a tree, but they'll never sign with me." The fraternity's national headquarters quickly condemned the act, and university president David Boren expelled two students he said were involved. The students, Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, have both issued public apologies.
Rice, a freshman, said he was taught the chant. Pettit is a sophomore, so the trustees' comments indicate there are more brothers at fault. A full investigation into the incident is ongoing, and Boren has said further consequences are possible. "I hope that the students involved in this incident will learn from this experience and realize that it is wrong to use words to hurt, threaten and exclude other people," he said in a statement Tuesday. "Once their identities have been confirmed, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action."
The SAE board of trustees asked for all parties to start the healing process for the students' safety. But Boren told CNN the fraternity chapter will not return to campus while he's in charge. "The house will be closed, and as far as I'm concerned, they won't be back," he said. "There seems to be a culture in some of these fraternities, and it just has to be snuffed out."