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Did the racist Sooner student deserve to get expelled?


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How did they determine just this kid should be kicked out. It was a collective chant and pretty obvious this wasn't the first time this chant was done. Is this the kid that led the chant on the bus? The kid in the video? Either way everyone on that bus was hollering and the entire frat has probably used that chant/learned it upon joining. It doesn't seem right that one kid who got caught for being in the video or whatever is the only one kicked out imo.

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Freedom of speech doesn't mean speech is free from consequences.

Isn't that the very reason it's in the constitution. I'm talking from a legal aspect. Yes it will have consequences outside of the courts on personal levels, but as a public institution as OU is, I would find it hard to believe that the student couldn't win a legal battle of sorts. Any lawyers on the board help out??

 

 

No. You can't, for example, yell "fire!" in a crowded theater without consequences. If you do, and someone is injured as a result of your actions, you can be prosecuted.

 

In much the same way, this person's actions injured the university. You can take your pick of how they were injured - reputation, loss of students enrollment... whatever. They could come up with a list if they chose. That damage is real, and has consequences. This idiot is suffering those consequences.

 

The First Amendment does not give us carte blanche to say anything we want, wherever we want, however we want, without consequences. There are limits to everything.

 

 

First of all, two things: 1) I do not claim any expertise in Constitutional law; and 2) I think the frat kid is a racist jackass who deserves punishment. Really I think the whole OU SAE chapter deserves to be punished. But I did did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So here goes:

 

 

In regards to the racist song, your comment above: "Yelling yell "fire!" in a crowded theater", isn't really on point. The theater fire quote comes from Oliver Wendell Holmes in the Schenck v. U.S.. It concerns dangerous speech that is not Constitutionally protected. The racist frat kid did not create any create a clear and present danger, as per Schenk. But Schenk was later reined in by the Bradenburg case, which provided a test of whether the speech was likely to incite imminent lawless action. Should the racist song be prohibited under Bradenburg? I don't think so. It's not likely that the song would cause that busload of drunken SAE frat guys to go to go out and lynch some poor black guy, was it? The frat kid's song was merely racist and distastefulhate speech. But hate speech is sometimes prohibited, depending on audience and proximity. Hate speech is prohibited if it rises to the level of "fighting words". That is, if it is intimidating speech that's directed at a specific individual in a face-to-face confrontation. (Chaplinsky v. N.H.). To my knowledge there were no blacks at the SAE party that felt threatened by the racist song. So it's probably not prohibited under Chaplinsky either.

 

Social media provides an interesting twist on the situation. These days anytime some jackass does something like this it's nearly certain to be broadcast to a wider audience than merely those immediately present. So if someone sings a song like that knowing that it's certain to appear on YouTube the next day and be Tweeted to a broader audience, does that provide the necessary proximity and intimidation for it to become fighting words? And thus not be protected? I dunno. I don't think our courts have sorted that out yet.

 

Again, I'm just voicing my opinion that the kid didn't deserve to be booted from OU. And his speech, although abhorrent and distasteful, probably doesn't fall into one of the exception categories of prohibited speech that's not protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution. Like it or not, here in America we give free speech to a$$hole$ like the frat kid and his buddies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

btw, THESE are the friggin' hillbillies that Bill Callahan was talking about. :lol:

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Freedom of speech doesn't mean speech is free from consequences.

Isn't that the very reason it's in the constitution. I'm talking from a legal aspect. Yes it will have consequences outside of the courts on personal levels, but as a public institution as OU is, I would find it hard to believe that the student couldn't win a legal battle of sorts. Any lawyers on the board help out??

Could he make a colorable argument that this "hate speech" might be protected? Yes.

And the University's defense would be "we were harmed by his speech" and that would be the end of it.

I don't think it is that simple.

 

No, it’s not constitutional for the University of Oklahoma to expel students for racist speech.

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law.

 

 

 

No, it probably isn't that simple. I'm not interested in debating how OU's actions are or aren't legal. I've shown a simple, probably too simple, method by which OU could defend themselves if this came to court. If people are interested in figuring out ways this kid could get back into OU, they're welcome to the exercise.

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Here's the thing. If that president doesn't take harsh action and say those students were put on probation or what have you and given a slap on the wrist it sends a reaaallly bad message as far as the schools image is concerned. Also there would have been hell to pay on that campus and the SAE fraternity as well as the OU administration would have been the targets had those guys not been expelled I believe anyway. The schools image was put on the line thanks to those idiots and in some ways still probably is now. Things would have been far more messy than having to deal with getting sued by a few kids as far as the university is concerned had they not acted as swiftly and harshly as they did I feel anyway. I could be wrong.

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Here's the thing. If that president doesn't take harsh action and say those students were put on probation or what have you and given a slap on the wrist it sends a reaaallly bad message as far as the schools image is concerned. Also there would have been hell to pay on that campus and the SAE fraternity as well as the OU administration would have been the target had those guys not been expelled I believe anyway. The schools image was put on the line thanks to those idiots and in some ways still probably is now. Things would have been far more messy than having to deal with getting sued by a few kids as far as the university is concerned had they not acted as swiftly and harshly as they did I feel anyway. I could be wrong.

 

That's probably why they took the action they did. Even were they to lose if this came to court (and I don't think they would, for reasons I cited above), that loss would be the lesser evil than to appear to condone racism.

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Here's the thing. If that president doesn't take harsh action and say those students were put on probation or what have you and given a slap on the wrist it sends a reaaallly bad message as far as the schools image is concerned. Also there would have been hell to pay on that campus and the SAE fraternity as well as the OU administration would have been the target had those guys not been expelled I believe anyway. The schools image was put on the line thanks to those idiots and in some ways still probably is now. Things would have been far more messy than having to deal with getting sued by a few kids as far as the university is concerned had they not acted as swiftly and harshly as they did I feel anyway. I could be wrong.

 

That's probably why they took the action they did. Even were they to lose if this came to court (and I don't think they would, for reasons I cited above), that loss would be the lesser evil than to appear to condone racism.

 

 

Yes. Totally agree. Amazing what one viral video of a few kids on a party bus can do to an entire university when you stop and think about it.

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Freedom of speech doesn't mean speech is free from consequences.

Isn't that the very reason it's in the constitution. I'm talking from a legal aspect. Yes it will have consequences outside of the courts on personal levels, but as a public institution as OU is, I would find it hard to believe that the student couldn't win a legal battle of sorts. Any lawyers on the board help out??

Could he make a colorable argument that this "hate speech" might be protected? Yes.

And the University's defense would be "we were harmed by his speech" and that would be the end of it.

I don't think it is that simple.

 

No, it’s not constitutional for the University of Oklahoma to expel students for racist speech.

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law.

 

 

 

No, it probably isn't that simple. I'm not interested in debating how OU's actions are or aren't legal. I've shown a simple, probably too simple, method by which OU could defend themselves if this came to court. If people are interested in figuring out ways this kid could get back into OU, they're welcome to the exercise.

 

If the kid is under scholarship I could see the expulsion being right. But if the kid is paying the University money for his education it becomes a completely different argument in my opinion. Like I said, I'm glad he's gone, he got what he deserved, but you have to look at things from both sides. Just b/c I don't agree with racist, bigots, etc doesn't mean they don't have that freedom. It's why the USA is the USA. It's based on freedom of thought, speech, belief, etc. When we start taking away peoples rights and freedoms, then I will become very worried about my own.

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Man this has turned into a nightmare for the University and SAE, one that all the media outlets have eaten up - especially the Dallas media. Every 10 o'clock news crew had coverage outside of the kid's home and a reporter in Norman. Sad thing is, the news media seems to talk more about the video and show the protest out side of the parent's home vs addressing the issue. I guess you need to use the emotional appeal to drive ratings, by product of 24/7 news channels.

 

My thoughts on the situation are mixed, because I find the video to be disgusting but also not surprising. Hell I grew up in the Dallas, had friends that went to several different southern schools, and were members of fraternities at those schools. Does it surprise me at all that something like this occurs? No. This isn't to say that the organization as a whole isn't a bunch of klan members, but any time you have a group of 100-150 college age kids from different backgrounds you're going to get some that are just idiots and have backwards thinking - I saw this in my own chapter. The problem arises when the members are not reprimanded when comments like this are made. It is pretty apparent that this was not the first time this song was sung, there are even accusations that the SAEs at UT have a similar song. It is disheartening because, this shines a negative light on individuals from the area, grouping them as racist. There is a big difference between taking pride in your heritage and completely neglecting and respecting the heritage of others. It also only emphasizes or highlights another example of the classic "what is the point of greek organizations on college campus" debate.

 

Ultimately, there is no question the individuals that can be identified should be expelled, not like they'd show their faces after this on campus anyways. And just to clarify the reason for expulsion shouldn't be misconstrued as an infringement of the 1st amendment (which is a dumb argument many have been trying to use to justify this), instead the expulsion should occur as a result of violation of the student code of conduct.

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If the kid is under scholarship I could see the expulsion being right. But if the kid is paying the University money for his education it becomes a completely different argument in my opinion. Like I said, I'm glad he's gone, he got what he deserved, but you have to look at things from both sides. Just b/c I don't agree with racist, bigots, etc doesn't mean they don't have that freedom. It's why the USA is the USA. It's based on freedom of thought, speech, belief, etc. When we start taking away peoples rights and freedoms, then I will become very worried about my own.

I'll disagree with the assertion that this kid having the right to spew racism is what makes the USA the USA. He doesn't have the right to distribute child pornography, for example, because that's a line too far. We simply haven't defined the line to utterly include hate speech. Many countries do, and they are to be applauded. The fact that America doesn't define hate speech specifically as a crime doesn't make America better. It makes us worse. We should be better than that.

 

All speech is not equal. It was never meant to be 100% equal, and it should not be 100% equal.

 

 

I'm far more concerned that I don't have the "right or freedom" to add a deck to my house without the government's approval (and I see no threads in this forum decrying that right being taken away) than I am with this kid getting expelled. If what this kid did is constitutional, the Constitution is wrong.

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Here is how I see it :

 

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What the kid said was racist.

 

Racist speech, is still Constitutionally protected speech (and that makes this country great)

 

A public university is a government entity.

 

Our "Freedom of Speech" protects us citizens from actions taken by the government to stifle that protected speech.

 

We especially protect professors "Freedom of Speech" from the government through tenure.

 

...but tenure does not mean a professor can say absolutely anything they want with consequences (employment contacts)

 

...and while students of a University are also awarded protected speech, they too can not simply say anything they want without consequences (code of conduct)

 

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