University of Oklahoma rightfully removed Sigma Alpha Epsilon after racist song
The First Amendment allows for a lot of protection.
It protects the freedom for you to practice — or not practice — any religion you desire. It allows for you to assemble and petition in favor or against whatever you choose. It also allows for me to write this column in a printed newspaper. And while, yes, it does protect the freedom we have to speak and say what we want, it does not exalt us from any and all punishment.
Last week, a video surfaced featuring members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma singing a racist song. The song insinuates that African Americans are not welcome in the fraternity. Soon after, the university president got involved and has expelled two students, removed the fraternity from campus and additional punishment is possible.
Many are calling for the men, and the fraternity, to sue the university. The case would hold no weight.
Yes, we have the freedom of speech, but would you go up to your boss and tell him or her that you don't like them because of the color of their skin? Or because they weigh too much? Or for any other childish reason? Sure, go for it. Enjoy looking for a new job.
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment is supposed to protect against segregation in public schools and institutions — which the University of Oklahoma is.
History has shown that one of the best ways to combat hate speech is for others to exercise their freedom of speech to put a positive message out to the public. Why do you think those loonies from the Westboro Baptist Church are allowed to engage in their shenanigans?
It's been proven before that it doesn't last 15 minutes here at UCF before students exercising their right to free speech prevails. Variations of hate speech have even shown up here at UCF.
Students have in the past complained of being victims to Islamophobia, and in April a student discovered swastikas carved into the walls of her University House apartment near UCF.
But this is different. This wasn't an emblem or a hateful group taking a public stand.
These men were representing a school and an organization, both of which have said they do not agree with the message of the song. The men said this song was passed down to them from older members of the fraternity — from when, the 1800s?
There is no room on this planet for hate speech and I applaud the University of Oklahoma for taking a stand and being strong.
Ryan Gillespie is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @rgillespiecff or email him at RyanG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.