PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Rich Zeoli spoke with Hans Bader, a Senior Attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute about the expulsion of students from the University of Oklahoma after a video was released of their fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, allegedly engaged in a racist chant.
Bader disagrees that the University has the legal authority to kick them out of school.
“Unlike a private employer, which is not bound by the First Amendment, or even a public school, which has a lot of lee way. University’s have much less ability to expel students for offensive or obnoxious speech. In 1973, The Supreme Court held that universitys can’t expel students for speech that is grossly offensive to standards of decency,” said Bader.
He said no one was truly in danger of being harmed, so the chant should not be considered something that would provoke actual violence.
“It’s not a true threat. This is essentially leaked. It was not made to a black student at the university. You could imagine that if you were some lone black student walking home at night and a bunch of thugs came around and said this to you, you’d be scared to death. It is really a horrific chant. But in this context, they were saying it on a bus. They weren’t saying it to any black person, addressing it to any black person, so it’s not a threat,” said Bader.
Bader stated that speech such as this chant is what the Constitution intended to protect.
“Even very loathsome speech is protected by the First Amendment as the Supreme Court made clear in saying that the Nazi’s could march in Skokie back in the 1970’s. The mere fact that it’s racist, or even really repulsively racist like this speech, doesn’t mean that it is not protected,” said Bader.