Levi Pettit has been identified as the second Oklahoma University student and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member seen in a video that has gone viral making racist chants. The 20-year-old Pettit and the other SAE member who has been identified, Parker Rice, were both expelled from the university March 10.
Pettit, Rice and other members of the fraternity are seen singing, “there will never be a n***er SAE,” in the video, filmed on a bus en route to a party. The chant, which has drawn disgust worldwide and led to the shutdown of the fraternity’s University of Oklahoma chapter, continues “you can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me.”
Both Rice and Pettit are from the Dallas area. Both students scrubbed their social media pages from the internet.
Pettit apologized publicly for the first time March 25.
Here’s what you need to know about Pettit and the SAE scandal:
1. He Apologized Publicly After Meeting With Black Civic Leaders
“My words, at best, were disgusting, and these words should never be repeated under any circumstance,” Pettit said during a press conference March 25, the first time he spoke publicly since the video was released.
His parents apologized in the days after the video was released, posted on a website created by his family, Brody and Susan Pettit said:
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 raised him to be loving and inclusive and we all remain surrounded by a diverse, close-knit group of friends.
We were as shocked and saddened by this news as anyone. Of course, we are sad for our son – but more importantly, we apologize to the community he has hurt. 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. Our words will only go so far – as a family, we commit to following our words with deeds.
On the website, “Friends & Family of Levi Pettit,” his parents also thanked their friends and family for the “kind comments and prayers,” which they said are “very comforting in this difficult time.” They also asked “that the media and public please respect our family’s privacy as we come together to heal and determine next steps.”
Pettit was seen in a second angle of the video, with what appears to be a microphone in front of his face. As he chants, he can be seen telling the person filming him to stop.
2. He Was a Star Golfer in High School
According to the Dallas Morning News, Pettit was a standout golfer at Highland Park High School in Dallas. His team won the 4A state championship in 2013.
He is not listed on the University of Oklahoma golf team’s roster.
3. His Father Owns a Machinery Company
Brody Pettit owns a successful machinery sales company, Pettit Machinery, which has locations in Texas and Oklahoma. The company sells tractors and other large agricultural, commercial and construction equipment.
The family lives in a $3.2 million home in the Highland Park, an upper class Dallas neighborhood where the median family income is $200,000.
4. Parker Rice Was Earlier Identified As Being in the Video
A University of Oklahoma student who preferred to remain anonymous revealed to Heavy that Parker Rice was the leader of the racist chant in the viral video.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail received confirmation from Rice’s high school, the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.
Rice also apologized for the incident in a statement to the Dallas Morning News that said in part:
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 and what I didn’t do. I didn’t say no. …. 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
5. Rice & Pettit Can Appeal Their Expulsion
Rice is one of two students expelled so far by OU President David Borden. The other student has yet to be named.
An expulsion letter (below) from OU’s President David Boren dated March 10 says the student is being removed from the school “because of your leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.” The letter notes that the student has until March 13, 2015, to lodge an appeal with the school’s Equal Opportunity Officers. A hearing on the expulsion must be held by March 23.
Boren has also stated that OU is currently investigating a Vine video from 2013 that allegedly shows Sigma Alpha Epsilon house mom Beauton Gilbow rapping the word “n***er” repeatedly. Watch that video here.
The rest of the SAE chapter had until midnight to get off campus before its house was shuttered, as announced by OU President David Boren via his Twitter: