Two members of a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma were recorded singing a racist chant in March, 2015. The short recording quickly went viral.
A rally on campus to protest this blatant racism drew several thousand people. The president of the university, David Boren (also a former governor
and senator for Oklahoma), spoke at the rally and said the students “created a hostile learning environment for others.”
The video of the chant led the university and the national fraternity organization to close the chapter’s house.
NPR reported it appeared that one of the students apologized, as did the parents for the other student.
This after-the-fact apology did little to change President Boren’s opinion of the students’ behavior. Both students were expelled from the university.
But Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA who also writes for The Washington Post, made an important comment about the president’s actions:
“Racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on
Knowing this, what would be your initial counsel and advice to President Boren if you were the chief communication officer for the university?