UPDATE ― Jan. 23: The University of Oklahoma students who appeared in a racist video last week have withdrawn from the school, according to OU president James L. Gallogly.
Read more details in the update here.
A member of a Tri Delta chapter at the University of Oklahoma was eliminated from the sorority after a video she posted of a woman smearing black paint on her face and saying a racial slur surfaced online.
The sorority announced on Saturday that the woman who filmed the video was “no longer a member” of their organization in a statement issued to the university on Saturday night.
The video was first shared Friday morning, ahead of a holiday weekend honoring Martin Luther King Jr., by a Twitter user identified as Gabrielle Lesley. In the original video, which appears to be taken on Snapchat, a woman in blackface rubs more black paint onto her face.
In the following clip, she raises her paint-covered hands and says “I am a nigger” while another woman stands next to her.
On Friday, Tri Delta said in a statement that one of the women in the video was “associated” with the University. According to the University’s student newspaper, the person who filmed the video was a member of the sorority, while the woman in blackface was not.
The incident occurred at a private home off-campus, Lauren Brookey, OU’s vice president of marketing and communication, told HuffPost.
The students in the video were identified as Francie Ford and Olivia Urban but Brookey did not provide their affiliations, citing the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The university is still investigating the incident.
“Our chapter condemns the racist, offensive and disgraceful conduct of the two women involved in the video posted yesterday,” London Moore, president of the Theta Gamma chapter of Tri Delta, said.
Moore apologized for the “senseless act of racism” and said that chapter leadership had met and took “appropriate action.”
In an earlier statement, Moore said that the sorority was working with university officials and Tri Delta’s executive office staff to investigate the video.
OU’s Black Student Union said they weren’t surprised over the woman’s black face and use of “an abominable racial slur,” but in a press release on Friday they called on the university to “adequately address” their grievances. They demanded that school officials include a zero-tolerance hate speech policy to the university’s student code of conduct and increase “multicultural faculty and staff, especially in higher administration.”
The student-run organization pointed to another racist incident caught on camera in 2015 when members of the university’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter sang a racist song which included the lyrics, “There will never be a nigger in SAE.”
A university investigation into that video found that the fraternity had taught the song to its new members as part of the formal and informal pledge process, HuffPost reported at the time.
In response to the video, the university stripped SAE of their fraternity house and the fraternity’s national headquarters shutdown its OU chapter. The Black Student Union said OU still had not “adequately address” the demands they made during that 2015 incident.
In an official statement released Friday, University of Oklahoma president James L. Gallogy said he was aware of the “derogatory video” of “two OU students” and said both students had offered to apologize “in order to reflect their regret.”
“We are saddened and offended that even on the eve of such an important holiday for our nation we are reminded how far we have yet to come in the conversation about treating everyone with respect and dignity,” Gallogy said.
He added: “While students have the freedom of expression, the negative impact of such conduct cannot be underestimated.”
The Black Student Union is hosting a “Rally to Stop Racism” on Tuesday in response to the former Tri Delta member’s video. They held a similar protest in 2015 after the SAE incident.