Two University of Oklahoma students leave school after blackface routine

"This type of behavior is not welcome here and is condemned in the strongest terms," OU President James Gallogly said
Image: Students walk on campus at the University of Oklahoma in Norman on March 11, 2015.
Students walk on campus at the University of Oklahoma in Norman on March 11, 2015.Brett Deering / Getty Images file

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By David K. Li

Two University of Oklahoma students who faced backlash over a blackface video posted to social media have left the school, officials said Monday.

In the video posted late last week on social media, a young woman is seen painting her face black, laughing and uttering a racist slur, while the other student was filming.

OU President James Gallogly said the students were not expelled and that the recording was made off-campus.

"Those students will not return to campus," Gallogly announced. "This type of behavior is not welcome here and is condemned in the strongest terms by me and by our university."

Gallogly declined to identify the two students, other than saying they were both sophomores. They were both stunned by the blowback to their social media posting.

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The president said he was"saddened and offended" that this happened in days leading up to a national holiday, commemorating slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

"They decided on their own to withdraw," Gallogly told reporters on Monday. "Under the circumstances, they could see that our culture rejects this kind of behavior in no uncertain term, I think it became very clear to them that this type behavior is not only local news, but state news and national news."

"I think they're very surprised by the reaction. Simply put, this type of racist video has no place here or any place else," Gallogy added.

The school is still investigating to determine if any other students were involved in making the video.

The Tri Delta sorority confirmed earlier in the day that at least one of the women involved in the video is now a former member.

"Our chapter condemns the racist, offensive and disgraceful conduct of the two women involved in the video," chapter president London Moore said in a statement. "The woman who participated in, filmed and posted the video is no longer a member of our organization."

The University of Oklahoma in 2015 shut down its Sigma Alpha Epsilon house after fraternity members were caught on tape chanting the n-word and making light of lynching.

The school's Black Student Association said last week's blackface incident is all too familiar.

"We are not surprised by the actions of the two students in the video," according to a statement by the student group, "nor are we surprised by the use of an abominable racial slur against black people."

"It is unfortunate to us to be in 2019 and this is still happening," the statement added.

Gallogly acknowledged the 2015 incident.

"Obviously we've had a second incident in several years," he said. "It shows that there must be something systemic. We have work to do.”