The Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s (SAE) chapter of the University of Oklahoma (OU) is considering suing the university and possibly David Boren, OU president. The fraternity has hired Stephen Jones, a high-profile attorney, who said that SAE was enraged that Boren shut down its house and termed its members racists, a media report said Thursday.
Jones said, according to News Channel 4, that the students had sincerely apologized for the racist chant, but now the incident is being exploited. He added that the two students should not be termed racists, just because they lacked judgment in a social setting. The decision to hire Jones reportedly came after an emergency meeting held between the SAE members and its alumni. The fraternity is reportedly looking at all options, including litigation.
Meanwhile, members of the university's football team staged a silent protest on Thursday demanding punishment for the fraternity's leaders. The team skipped its practice as a part of the silent protest and supported the expulsion of Levi Pettit, 20, and Parker Rice, 19, who were seen singing the racist song in the video released earlier this week, along with other fraternity members.
“The chant was not invented by the two that led it, but was taught to underclassmen by people of higher authority,” the team said, in a statement, according to New York Daily News, adding: “It is our passionately expressed desire as members of the football team for the leadership of SAE to be expelled, suspended, or otherwise disciplined severely.”
Ty Darlington, a member of the team, said according to New York Daily News, that the controversy over the chant had “undeniable brought our team closer,” and added: “From personal experiences and from experiences of people around the nation, we know that this is a nationwide issue and that there are instances that happen like this every year. This one was caught on tape.”
On Tuesday, Rice said in an apology statement that the song was taught to the students. However, he did not give details on who coached them. Pettit's parents had also issued a statement on his behalf, apologizing for his act.