University of Oklahoma President David Boren has expelled two students from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity who have been identified as being involved in singing a racist song, but questions have been raised as to the constitutionality of such a move.
Boren announced the expulsion Monday via a press release that he also tweeted.
I have acted today to expel two students who were leaders in the singing of a racist chant. See press release – DBo pic.twitter.com/VypOiVqXi7
— David Boren (@President_Boren) March 10, 2015
“I have emphasized that there is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening, racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma,” he said.
“I hope that the entire nation will join us in having zero tolerance of such racism when it raises its ugly head in other situations across our country. I am extremely proud of the reaction and response expressed by our entire university family — students, faculty, staff and alumni about this incident. They are ‘Real Sooners’ who believe in mutual respect for all. I hope that students involved in this incident will learn from this experience and realize that it is wrong to use words to hurt, threaten and exclude other people.”
He also hinted that more expulsions may be coming.
“We will continue our investigation of all the students engaged in the singing of this chant,” Boren added. “Once their identities have been confirmed, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.”
But a writer for the Washington Post contends that Boren is not allowed to expel students from a public university for such reasons.
“Racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech,” Post contributor Eugene Volokh wrote. “That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions.”
“Likewise, speech doesn’t lose its constitutional protection just because it refers to violence,” he said. “‘You can hang him from a tree,’ ‘the capitalists will be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes,’ ‘by any means necessary’ with pictures of guns, ‘apostates from Islam should be killed.'”
Freedom of speech is hardest to defend when the speech is its most vile. Let’s see how the left — which would be screaming if students got expelled for “hands up, don’t shoot,” will handle this one.
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