Expelled OU Student to Hold Press Conference With State Senator

by Matt Pearce for the LA Times

One of the Oklahoma fraternity members expelled earlier this month for leading a racist chant is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday with one of the state's top African American lawmakers.

The news conference, set to be held at a predominantly black church in Oklahoma City, was announced by state Sen. Anastasia A. Pittman, an Oklahoma City Democrat and chair of the Oklahoma Black Caucus.

Levi Pettit was one of the two students expelled from the University of Oklahoma after a video emerged on March 8 showing him and other Sigma Alpha Epsilon members on a bus singing an anti-black song that used the N-word and referenced lynching.
A statement from Pittman's office said she "has spoken with Levi Pettit and his family a number of times following the disgraceful behavior caught on videotape," and added that the senator, along with some students, civic leaders and local pastors, would meet privately with Pettit before the Wednesday afternoon news conference. Pittman is a University of Oklahoma graduate.

The video rocked university officials, who immediately condemned the chant and banned the fraternity from campus. Some 1st Amendment experts have said said that the song may have been constitutionally protected speech, given that the University of Oklahoma is a public university.

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