OU to hire vice president of diversity amid fallout from racist video

Story highlights

  • University President David Boren says he decided to make the hire two months ago
  • A video of a racist chant by a university fraternity made headlines nationwide this week

(CNN)As a controversy over a racist video continues, the University of Oklahoma is announcing a plan to hire a vice president who will oversee diversity programs.

A video of a racist chant by the university's now-disbanded Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity made headlines nationwide this week.
It shows students on a bus clapping, pumping their fists and laughing as they chant, "There will never be a ni**** SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me. There will never be a ni**** SAE."
    In announcing the new position Wednesday night, university President David Boren said he decided to make the hire two months ago -- before the video came to light -- and is in talks with an African-American candidate.

    Anonymous messages

    The school newspaper and a student organization publicized the nine-second video clip after receiving it via anonymous messages.
    Shortly after it surfaced, the university cut ties with Sigma Alpha Epsilon, as did the national fraternity.
    Two students spotted in the video, Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, have been expelled for their alleged leadership role in the chant.
    Fraternity spokesman: Racist chant 'disgusting'
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    "I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night. It was wrong and reckless," Rice said Tuesday in a statement to The Dallas Morning News.
    "I made a horrible mistake by joining into the singing and encouraging others to do the same."
    A statement from Pettit's parents said their son made a horrible mistake and apologized to African-Americans, students and university faculty.
    "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," Brody and Susan Pettit said.
    CNN has reached out to both students. A spokesman for the Pettit family confirmed that Levi Pettit was in the video but declined CNN's request for an interview.

    'A horrible cancer'

    Boren has ordered a shutdown of the fraternity house in Norman, and said it was no longer affiliated with the university.
    "Livid, just extremely heartbroken," Jay Vinekar, a founder of the university's SAE chapter, told CNN affiliate KTRK .
    "I don't want it in my house, and I don't want those people to wear my letters, claiming to represent me. The problem is not just a couple of guys on that bus, the problem is that house, it's a cancer that needs to be cut out."
    Local SAE alumni apologized on behalf of other members, saying the fraternity has had problems for years.
    "The OU SAE Board of Trustees has discovered that a horrible cancer entered into the OU chapter of SAE three to four years ago, and was not immediately and totally stopped," the organization said in a statement Wednesday. "It should have been."

    Will other students get expelled?

    The fraternity said it is investigating other incidents involving other chapters that were brought to the attention of its national office.
    It's unclear whether more students will be punished for the video.
    Boren has said the fraternity won't return during his tenure if he can help it.