Reynolds: Boren OU expulsions violated the First Amendment

| | TrackBacks (0)

University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, writing in USA Today, about OU president David Boren's decision to expel two students and a fraternity for a video containing racist speech:

As a state institution, the University of Oklahoma is constrained by the Constitution. Among other things, that means that it must respect the free speech guarantees contained in the First Amendment, even if that speech is repugnant. Just because the university doesn't like what students say, thinks it's hateful, or worries that it will produce an unpleasant atmosphere on campus, doesn't grant it the authority to punish people for speaking. One would think that Boren -- a former U.S. senator who took an oath to uphold the Constitution when he was sworn into office -- would know better. Apparently not....

Boren's behavior was not only illegal -- and clearly so -- it was also a betrayal of the duty of fairness that he, as a university president, owes to every student enrolled in his university. To have acted so hastily, in violation of OU's own student conduct code, bespeaks a dishonorable willingness to throw students to the wolves in order to avoid bad publicity -- accompanied, perhaps, by the sort of generalized hostility to fraternities that seems all too common among university administrations these days. (That hostility, based on a general dislike of fraternities as bastions of "white male privilege," is itself racist and sexist, of course.)

As Reason's Robby Soave notes, OU administered lighter punishment to a football player who punched a girl so hard it broke four bones in her face than it meted out to the SAE fraternity for singing a song. After this assault, caught on camera, Joe Mixon was suspended from playing, but allowed to remain on campus, attending classes with other students as usual. No expulsion there.

In theory, universities are supposed to be the bastions of reasoned thought and fairness. In practice, you will seldom find a place where mob justice is more likely to prevail with the willing participation of the authorities....

The Daily Caller summarizes more incidents where student athletes received light punishment for violent behavior.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Reynolds: Boren OU expulsions violated the First Amendment.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/7446

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 16, 2015 12:18 PM.

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith for Tulsa County Republican Chairman was the previous entry in this blog.

Israel 2015 elections is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Contact

Feeds

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
Atom
RSS
[What is this?]