OU SAE Fraternity Members Issue Statements On Racist Video

Levi Pettit and Parker Rice issue statements on the racist chant by SAE fraternity at University of Oklahoma

The Dallas Morning News has shared an apology from one of the University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers, Parker Rice, who was seen leading the racist chant now infamous via viral video.

“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. On Monday, I withdrew from the university, and sadly, at this moment our family is not able to be in our home because of threatening calls as well as frightening talk on social media.

“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, and I clearly dismissed an important value I learned at my beloved high school, Dallas Jesuit. We were taught to be ‘Men for Others.’ I failed in that regard, and in those moments, I also completely ignored the core values and ethics I learned from my parents and others.

“At this point, all I can do is be thoughtful and prayerful about my next steps, but I am also concerned about the fraternity friends still on campus. Apparently, they are feeling unsafe and some have been harassed by others. Hopefully, the university will protect them.

“For me, this is a devastating lesson and I am seeking guidance on how I can learn from this and make sure it never happens again. 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.

“Thank you for your consideration of my deepest apologies for what I did.”

I appreciate that he begins and ends with what seem like sincere apologies.

But I have to ask: why does the second sentence of the statement have to sound like “poor me – we’re being threatened?” In the same breath that he takes responsibility for his hideous performance now captured forever on video?

He goes on to say his fraternity “friends” have been harassed. Poor them.

And – he mentions alcohol and that the song was “taught” to them. HOW do you hear that “song” and not go running from the f*cking room???

A third of this carefully written statement could have been deleted and he would have made more headway.

In addition, a second student who was identified – Levi Pettit – has had his parents post an apology for him.

How very grown-up.

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.

I’d be curious to know why Levi Pettit can’t offer his own statement?

Viral Video: Oklahoma Fraternity Shut Down Over Racist Chant

The national office of Sigma Alpha Epsilon shut down a chapter at the University of Oklahoma when a video surfaced that showed members singing a racist chant:

UPDATE:

University of Oklahoma president Boren issued this statement on the scandal:

“To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. You are disgraceful.

“You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots. Real Sooners believe in equal opportunity. Real Sooners treat all people with respect. Real Sooners love each other and take care of each other like family members.

“All of us will redouble our efforts to create the strongest sense of family and community,” Boren added. “We vow that we will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

The members of SAE at OU were given until Tuesday night at midnight to gather their belongings and get out. Boren added that he doesn’t plan on helping the displaced residents find housing.

“That’s not our responsibility,” he said. “We don’t provide student services to bigots.” He added that he’d offer to pay the student’s busfare if it would help them leave the community faster.

The national SAE organization had this to say:

“We apologize for the unacceptable and racist behavior of the individuals in the video, and we are disgusted that any member would act in such a way,” the online statement read. “Furthermore, we are embarrassed by this video and offer our empathy not only to anyone outside the organization who is offended but also to our brothers who come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.”

I’m curious if anyone has identified any particular student in the video, and if so, what they might have to say on the incident. I always have a passing interest in how bigots justify their positions and behavior.

USF Kappa Sigma Brothers Bring Margaritas, Massages & “Magic Mike” To Charity Auctin

Down at the University of South Florida, the brothers of Kappa Sigma took their annual fraternity auction in a “Magic Mike” direction with some promo videos to help loosen the purse strings at their event.

The event auctioned off date packages with the brothers, some of which included margaritas, sky diving and massages to help the men raise over $2,700 for Fisher House, which aids wounded veterans and their families in recovering as they come home from war. Along the way, the evening also featured a choreographed routine a la “Magic Mike” to BSB’s “I Want It That Way.”

(Ok, so maybe walking the runway and dropping some of their clothes along the way also had SOMETHING to do with the fund-raising…)

Check out one of the videos below.

Modern Family Stars Crash Frat House Party

On Conan last night, Jesse Tyler Ferguson recounts the tale of visiting Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas – his co-star Eric Stonestreet’s alma mater.

After a night of exploring the campus, Stonestreet suggests dropping by his former frat house. In doing so, the guys discover the fraternity had just held a party that basically trashed the place.

So, being who they are, they explore the trashed house and take pics along the way, including in Stonestreet’s old bedroom where a frat brother is in the middle of “entertaining” a lady friend.

What next? PICTURES!

Fraternity helps raise funds for brother’s transgender surgery

Being a Sigma Chi brother from the long gone Psi Psi chapter at Syracuse University, I’m pretty aware of the upside of being a fraternity brother.  There’s a kind of “instant” family when you become a brother, and often those ties extend way into adult life.

When I was at Syracuse, I was just beginning to travel down the road of my life as a gay man.  So, I wasn’t a “gay frat brother” during my time there.  It wasn’t a part of that journey, although I had some great times and certainly felt that sense of “brotherhood” that gets talked about so often in Greek life.

Today, however, I read this very cool story about transgendered sophomore Donnie Collins at Emerson College and his brothers at Phi Alpha Tau.  Collins realized he was transgendered when he was 17, and has since been struggling to handle the finances of his transition from female to male.

From Out.com:

Collins’s brothers in Phi Alpha Tau have rallied together to cover some of the surgery’s cost. Find their indiegogo fund here: Brothers of A Boston Fraternity – FTM: Top Surgery. The brothers’ fund has already surpassed the $2,000 they initially hoped to donate, but now they’re looking to cover even more of the procedure’s $8,100 cost.

Collins has been completely overwhelmed by the wave of support, admitting to have cried out of gratitude when he heard what his brothers were doing. But the thought that this is a fraternity raising money for him never even crossed his mind.

“I was just like, ‘Oh that’s such a Tau thing to do,’ and I didn’t even think it was that weird,” he says. “But then I started sending [the indiegogo link] out to people, and they were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing! See, Greek Life isn’t bad; it’s amazing.’”

The brothers’ site says that they hope less to raise money with their efforts and more to spread acceptance, brotherhood, and love. “We are here… to tell a story. The story of transformation, the story of self-discovery, and the story of brotherhood.”

It seems that Donnie Collins and his brothers’ story is certainly one worth telling. Please consider donating to their cause.