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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Levi Pettit, the Highland Park High School graduate who was seen on video leading a racist fraternity chant at the University of Oklahoma, is back in the Sooner state.
Pettit spent two hours behind closed doors Wednesday meeting with Oklahoma State Senator Anastasia A. Pittman (D-Oklahoma City), select students from the University of Oklahoma, civic leaders and local pastors. Those there said his words were sincere, heartfelt and even tearful.
First off Pettit said, “Thank you to Senator Pittman for inviting me today. You’re a blessing to me, my mom, and my dad. I can’t thank you enough for the way you’ve embraced me and opened my eyes to things I had not seen before.”
After the video went viral Pettit was expelled from the university and days after his parents issued a written apology on his behalf. But Senator Pittman, the chair of the Oklahoma legislative black caucus, encouraged him to speak to members of the community to hear what the hateful words meant to them.
“Let me start by saying that I am sorry, deeply sorry. I’m so sorry for all the pain that I’ve caused an I want you all to know that directly from me. Although I don’t deserve it, I want to ask for your forgiveness. There are no excuses for my behavior.”
Pettit went onto say, “I never thought of myself as a racist. I never considered it a possibility. But the bottom line is that the words that were said in that chant we mean, hateful, and racist. I will be deeply sorry, and deeply ashamed of what I’ve done for the rest of my life.”
♦♦♦ Click The Video Below To See Pettit’s Entire Press Conference Statement ♦♦♦
When the Highland Park High School graduate was asked where the chant started and who he learned it from he said, “I’m not here today to talk about where I learned the chant or how it was taught. I’m here to apologize for what I did. Because, the truth is that what was said in that chant is disgusting and it should never… and after meeting with these people and everybody else I’ve met with, I’ve learned that these words should never be repeated, joked about, or ever used in any form ever again. And these are lessons that I am gonna to carry with me for he rest of my life.”
Pettit said he knew the words in the chant were wrong, but didn’t know how or why they were wrong. He now says the people he’s met with since the incident have opened his eyes to put meaning behind the words and learn the impact on others when they are said.
As far as what the future holds for Pettit and how he plans to move forward he said, “In everyday, day-to-day life, if I ever see racism in any form, whether it’s in a public or private setting, I believe I now have the courage… and the meaning behind those words to stand up and refute that kind of behavior.”
Less than an hour before Pettit took to the podium in Oklahoma City, it was announced that an agreement had been reached that calls for no further OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon student expulsions. Stephen Jones, the lawyer for the now-disbanded fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, said the deal was reached with university officials but declined to comment further about details.
A spokesperson for the University of Oklahoma said the investigation into the SAE fraternity is nearing completion and that University President David Boren would have an announcement on Friday.
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