One of the two fraternity brothers expelled this month from the University of Oklahoma over a racist video stepped forward Wednesday to express how “deeply sorry” he was for the role he played in the entire episode. Levi Pettit spoke during a press conference in an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, church, breaking his silence on the matter and saying in part that he was “so sorry for the pain that I’ve caused and I want you to hear that directly from me. Even though I don’t deserve it I would like to ask for your forgiveness,” according to ABC News.
Pettit, 20, who was seen on the video reciting a racist chant on a bus with the local Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, went on to call the chant “disgusting” and told the media that he "never thought of myself as a racist." He was flanked by African-American civic leaders and politicians, including Oklahoma State Sen. Anastasia A. Pittman, whose office released a statement saying she "has spoken with Levi Pettit and his family a number of times following the disgraceful behavior caught on videotape."
Pittman arranged the press conference and invited black students and clergy to attend because “I think that will enlighten [Pettit] and give him a new perspective on a culture that he is completely unaware of."
Earlier in the day, a lawyer for SAE announced that an agreement was reached with the University of Oklahoma to ensure that no other fraternity brothers would be expelled for participating in the racist chant. The lawyer, Stephen Jones, would not provide any further details into the agreement, according to the Associated Press.
Prior to Wednesday only Pettit’s parents had spoken on his behalf, issuing an apology in the days after the video and its contents went viral. SAE’s executive director also issued an apology and announced a new diversity training program, diversity committee and other measures being taken to ensure something like this doesn’t happen within their fraternity again.
The other student who was expelled, Parker Rice, issued his own statement days after the controversy was widely publicized, saying in part, “I made a horrible mistake by joining into the singing and encouraging others to do the same.” The series of events led to SAE first being suspended from campus before OU president David Boren swiftly severed the school's connection to the fraternity altogether.