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Ex-OU Student Apologizes For Racist Chant On Fraternity Bus


Nobody's talking of prison for a former student at the University of Oklahoma. But he faces a different kind of punishment - public scorn. Yesterday, he apologized for leading fellow fraternity members in a racist chant. Here's Kate Carlton Greer of member station KGOU.

KATE CARLTON GREER, BYLINE: Black clergy members, a lawmaker and African-American students from the University of Oklahoma flanked Levi Pettit Wednesday as he stood in front of a room full of press at Fairview Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.


LEVI PETTIT: Let me start by saying that I'm sorry - deeply sorry. I'm so sorry for the pain that I've caused, and I want you all to know that directly from me.

GREER: Pettit spent time this week talking to civic leaders and athletes from the university who spoke out against the racially-charged video. After the press conference, the NAACP's Garland Pruitt insisted Pettit's apology was not only sincere but was a sign of bravery.

GARLAND PRUITT: The mistake that he made will follow him to his grave. And so now we look at this as an opportunity for him to step forward and make some major contributions as far as fixing, changing and correcting what he did.

GREER: But Pettit stuck to a script and wouldn't deviate when asked about the source of the chant. That rubbed some people, like Suella Hill, the wrong way.

SUELLA HILL: It was wrote on a paper. And it was like it was quoted to him to say. If it came from the heart, no matter what question they asked him, it wouldn't have mattered.

GREER: University of Oklahoma president David Boren said the results of the university's investigation of the incident will be announced Friday. For NPR News, I'm Kate Carlton Greer in Oklahoma City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kate Carlton Greer is a general assignment reporter for KGOU. She covered Oklahoma's efforts in tornado response and recovery as part of KGOU's "Ahead of the Storm: The Oklahoma Tornado Project" from October 2013 through September 2014. Kate also served as the Community Calendar Producer from January to August in 2013. She grew up in Flower Mound, Texas, and studied broadcasting and electronic media at the University of Oklahoma.
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