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Sigma Alpha Epsilon Blames University of Oklahoma Chapter for Racist Song

The national leadership of Sigma Alpha Epsilon said it believes the racist song captured on video was taught by other chapter members.
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The national fraternity embarrassed after members of its University of Oklahoma chapter were seen in a video singing a racist song said it supports the school's decision to expel two students.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon condemned the racist chant that sparked widespread outrage and blamed it on a chapter gone terribly wrong. The fraternity said it is investigating allegations of "several other incidents" involving SAE chapters and members.

One of the students seen in the video, in which members of the OU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were seen chanting a racial slur and referencing lynching, apologized Tuesday. Parker Rice said the offensive song was "taught to us" — but added that didn’t excuse his behavior.

Rice did not say who taught him the song. Rice said he has withdrawn from the University of Oklahoma.

"The national fraternity does not teach such a racist, hateful chant, and this chant is not part of any education or training," Sigma Alpha Epsilon said in a statement Tuesday night. "Our investigation has found very likely that the men learned the song from fellow chapter members," the statement went on to say.

The fraternity said it is kicking members of the chapter out of SAE, in part "because of the culture that may have been fostered in the group." But it also said, "several other incidents with chapters or members have been brought to the attention of the headquarters staff ... each one of those instances will be investigated for further action."

The University of Oklahoma on Tuesday expelled two students it said played a leadership role in singing the song captured on video. The frat chapter was shut down. The university did not identify the expelled students.

The parents of another student seen in the video released a statement Tuesday apologizing for their son’s actions. Brody and Susan Pettit said their son, Levi, "is a good boy, but what we saw in those videos is disgusting." They said he is not a racist.

Levi "made a horrible mistake, and will live with the consequences forever," the statement from his family said. The family apologized to the African American community and to the university students and administration.


— Phil Helsel