The University of Oklahoma's president said Friday that the Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, the two locals seen on video leading their Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers in a chant about segregating and lynching black people, learned the chant as part of a process that began four years ago on a cruise ship filled with fraternity members.
Leaders of the OU fraternity chapter picked up the chant on a leadership cruise sponsored by the national SAE organization. The OU leaders brought the chant back to Norman and made it part of both the informal and formal pledge process, Boren said. (Rice, a freshman, and Pettit, a sophomore, were high school students at the time and didn't take part in the cruise itself.)
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Boren also said about a dozen high school students were on a bus heading to an SAE founder's day party at a Norman country club and heard the chant. There was alcohol available at the SAE house before the bus trip and there is evidence that many of those on the bus during the chant had been drinking, the university said.
Moving forward, Boren said that all incoming and current OU students will undergo diversity training. He also sent a letter to the national SAE organization requesting that they investigate the origins of the chant.