What Is The ‘True Threat’ Of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Infamous Song?

“Woke up an optimist / Sun was shinin’, I’m positive / Then I heard you was talkin’ trash / Hold me back, I’m ’bout to spaz.” — Kanye West

On Tuesday, University of Oklahoma’s President David Boren expelled two SAE Sigma Alpha Epsilonfraternity members from the school for their “leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.”

By now you probably have seen and heard the infamous lyrics that some of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members gleefully sang on their bus. Some legal scholars believe it is unconstitutional for the University of Oklahoma to have expelled the fraternity brothers of SAE for their racist chant. In a recent post, Eugene Volokh writes:

First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech… Likewise, speech doesn’t lose its constitutional protection just because it refers to violence — ‘You can hang him from a tree…’

Continue Reading on AbovetheLaw.com

Related Column: Balancing the First Amendment vs. racist chants at the University of Oklahoma (by Noah Feldman)

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