OU: Frat Members Learned Racist Song at National Event
Source: NBC News, Expelled OU student, Levi Pettit apologizes for singing racist chant on a bus after a Greek life event.
NBC News - The University of Oklahoma says it has determined that fraternity members learned a racist chant at a national event organized by Sigma Alpha Epsilon four years ago — and it wants to know what the leaders are doing about it.
OU President David Boren is expected to announce the results of the school's investigation into the episode at 1 p.m. ET Friday, but revealed some findings in a letter to the frat's executive director.
"The chant was learned by local chapter members while attending a national leadership cruise sponsored by by the national SAE organizations four years ago," Boren wrote.
"While there is no indication that the chant was part of the formal teaching of the national organization, it does appear that the chant was widely known and informally shared amongst members on the leadership cruise."
The university expelled two students — and shut down the local chapter — after a viral video revealed them singing a song about lynching that used a racial slur. OU's lawyer told NBC News that he does not expect more expulsions or suspensions.
"The investigation was thorough and complete and is resolved to our satisfaction," attorney Michael Burrage said. "It's time to heal and move forward."
He said college investigators interviewed more than a hundred SAE members to track the origin of the chant, which was sung to the tune of the children's ditty, "If You're Happy and You Know It" and which vowed that no African-American would be a member of the frat.
In the letter, Boren asked SAE's leaders to disclose whether they have looked into how widely the chant was taught or used in chapters across the country and what steps it has taken "to remedy the situation."
The expelled OU students, Levi Pettit and Parker Rice, have apologized for singing the song on a bus after a Greek life event. Parker has said the song was "taught to us," though Pettit refused to say where he had learned it.
"I'm here to apologize for what I did. The truth is that what was said in that chant is disgusting," Pettit said at a press conference earlier this week where he was flanked by black leaders.
The OU chapter of SAE has hired an attorney — the same lawyer who represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh — for a possible lawsuit to get it reopened and ensure the students' rights are protected.