Two of the students seen on video leading a busful of fraternity and sorority members in an N-word-laced chant broke their silence Wednesday, issuing statements on the racial scandal that has drawn national attention to the University of Oklahoma. The students, Parker Rice and Levi Petit, both members of the university's now-suspended chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said they were sorry for the roles they played in the scandal. Below are excerpts from statements on behalf of both students, as reported by television station KOTV-DT in Tulsa.
“I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night. It was wrong and reckless. I made a horrible mistake by joining into the singing and encouraging others to do the same. ... I know everyone wants to know why or how this happened. I admit it likely was fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before the bus trip, but that's not an excuse. 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. ... My goal for the long term is to be a man who has the heart and the courage to reject racism wherever I see or experience it in the future."
To read Rice's full statement, click here.
From Petit's parents, Brody and Susan Petit:
"As parents of Levi, we love him and care for him deeply. 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. ... We were as shocked and saddened by this news as anyone. ... We would also like to apologize to the entire African-American community, University of Oklahoma student body and administration. Our family has the responsibility to apologize, and also to seek forgiveness and reconciliation."
To read the Petits' full statement, click here.
On Tuesday, OU President David Boren announced that he had expelled two students linked to the racist video, but he did not identify them. On Wednesday, students on the campus planned to address the video scandal during a town hall-style forum. As of that morning, the SAE chapter's fraternity house was closed indefinitely, as Boren had ordered all student residents to move out by midnight Tuesday.