Civil Libertarians Say Expelling Oklahoma Frat Students May Be Illegal

TIME

The University of Oklahoma’s decision Tuesday to expel two students who played “a leadership role” in singing a racist chant that went viral after it was caught on video may assuage critics. But civil liberties experts say it could also be unconstitutional.

“The impulse to expel is understandable, but the decision is on constitutionally questionable ground,” said Ken Paulson, the President of the First Amendment Center and Dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. “A public university is subject to the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment and may not punish students because they hold offensive views.”

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The University of Oklahoma did not respond to multiple requests for comment Tuesday on the potential legal implications of its decision.

The video, posted online by the OU black student group Unheard, showed Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members on a bus singing a chant that…

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