March 27, 2015

"A racist song... caught on video was a fixture within a fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma, not an anomaly..."

"... the university reported Friday, and members first learned it at a gathering of the national fraternity four years ago."
“It was learned by chapter members on a national leadership cruise sponsored by the national organization of Sigma Alpha Epsilon,” the university said in a brief report on the results of its inquiry into the episode. “Over time, the chant was formalized in the local S.A.E. chapter and was taught to pledges as part of the formal and informal pledgeship process.”

The findings appeared to conflict with statements by the national fraternity that it had found no evidence of the song being part of its culture, either nationally or at other chapters....

[University of Oklahoma president David L. Boren] said Friday at a news conference.aid Friday that in all, about 25 fraternity members, including the two who were expelled, had been disciplined, and that all had accepted the discipline. Free speech experts have said they doubt the university has the legal right to penalize people for expressing even offensive views.

“If speech is used to create a threatening and hostile environment,” Mr. Boren said, “then you have a right to act.”

43 comments:

rhhardin said...

Good for the fraternity, for having the song.

It's an up-yours to the leftist agenda.

We need more of that.

Curious George said...

“If speech is used to create a threatening and hostile environment,” Mr. Boren said, “then you have a right to act.”

You really want to go there Mr. Asshole University President?

Curious George said...

I know the song ultimately became public, but it done in private. How does that create a hostile and threatening environment?

Skyler said...

So now it's against the law to be racist? What's happened to this country?

Anonymous said...

First they came for the Racists, and I did nothing, because I wasn't a Racist.

tim maguire said...

That's an awfully convenient finding that I seriously doubt the accuracy of.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Holding my breath to see when they start silencing the speech of those who don't like Christians or conservatives or prolifers due to the threatening or hostile environment that such speech creates for those groups.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I want to live in a world where we can tolerate people saying things we don't like, and the meaning of 'threatening' isn't mangled beyond recognition.

MayBee said...

But the woman who accused a fraternity of ritualistic gang rape remains protected.

MayBee said...

She literally created a hostile and dangerous environment for those men at UVa.

Sebastian said...

“If speech is used to create a threatening and hostile environment,” Mr. Boren said, “then you have a right to act.”

As provided in the First Amendment.

Of course, white men are so safely ensconced in privilege that no one could conceivably threaten them.

David said...

There is a leap between having "learned" it 4 years ago and being a fixture.

The musical notes of the song (not the lyrics) were sung to various bawdy and otherwise less than savory lyrics at my fraternity at Wesleyan in the early 1960's. We did not sing racist lyrics. Indeed our fraternity (Sigma Chi) had just "gone local" because the national organization had refused to remove the whites only clause in its charter.

Nevertheless it was a simple song that you could make up additional lyrics for in a very short burst of drunken creativity.

Despite a (relatively) early rejection of racist admissions policies, Wesleyan fraternities have been under attack from students and administration for five decades since I graduated. They are on their last legs, now being pilloried as centers of gender hostility and rape culture. The DKE house has been suspended (and has filed a lawsuit in return) for various alleged crimes, including a supposed hostility to women and minorities. This despite the fact that DKE has about 25% female members and more black members proportionally than the school as a whole has black students.

I hold no strong brief for fraternities, but I dislike that schools like my alma mater pick certain categories of student association to disfavor. I doubt that they will get what they think they are getting once all the fraternities are gone. According to Wesleyan statistics filed with the feds, 13 or the 15 "reported" sexual assaults on the campus in the prior year occurred in dorms, not fraternities.

YoungHegelian said...

SAE, caught in sticky wicket because one of its members sings racist song in public, denies that the song is a widespread "legacy" from the top of the organization.

UO & Pres. Boren, caught flagrantly steamrolling the 1st amendment while on the state payroll at a state organization, conveniently has "proof" that it came from the top of SAE.

Is it possible find a more disagreeable cast of characters out there? Of the two groups, UO & Boren are the more dangerous because of their outrageous disregard for 1st amendment rights. Sadly, Boren & his ilk now seem to be standard fixtures on college campuses all across the country.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

“If speech is used to create a threatening and hostile environment,” Mr. Boren said, “then you have a right to act.”

Not a can of worms that the President should be opening, IMO.

mccullough said...

Boren was skull and bones at Yale. now he's disciplining fraternity members for racist songs. Must be nice to be a dc legacy dem

Dick Stanley said...

All I see is Boren's statement that the song/chant was racist. How about a link or the lyrics so we can decide for ourselves?

sane_voter said...

Here is the OU president in all of his toolishness. Of course he brings up Ferguson as well.

So now OU is "the most important place in the world" to all the liberal handwringers. Maybe they can import some of the vibrant local community to BTBD like in Ferguson.

Wilbur said...

"The videos that have surfaced show students on one bus singing a song that boasts that Sigma Alpha Epsilon will never have a black member, that uses a racist term for a black person, and that refers to lynching a black person."

I've never heard the song, never having any particular inclination to hear it.

I guess I can understand how a 18 year-old, wanting to fit in with and be accepted by his fraternity, would sing this and suppress any real thinking about it.

But where the hell were the adults, letting this shit become acceptable?

Don't any of these people have any black friends, or at least know some black people for whom they have respect? How would they like to sing this to their faces? For Chrissake.

I recognize and disapprove the trampling of First Amendment rights. But it's hard for me to summon up much sympathy for these tuxedoed frat boys.

Ambrose said...

I have trouble seeing this a free speech issue. Colleges have an educational mission that is not limited to the classroom They have a right/obligation to educate students that songs like this are not acceptable - even if there is a Constitutional right to be free of government sanction for singing them.

Michael said...

Wilbur:

The members of the fraternity are adults. They are in college. They do not take older people to supervise their behavior on their trips.



PB said...

President Boren seems to be creating a threatening and hostile environment. Will he act by resigning?

Michael said...

Ambrose

You might have trouble seeing it as a free speech issue but it is a free speech issue nonetheless.

The university can "educate students that songs like this are not acceptable" but that does not remove the freedom from the students.

The universities spend an inordinate amount of time telling students what is and what is not "acceptable" and we are seeing that a good bit of what is not "acceptable" is, in fact, acceptable to some.

damikesc said...

OK...And?

The white privilege conferences dwarf that song for racism and are championed by acrademia.

Ambrose, you really want government institutions to decide what is appropriate? Fuck that. Your desire to forfeit rights doesn't obligate me to follow suit.

chickelit said...

From the article: 'I do feel like that meeting was very emotional and from that, it will be tough to think that wouldn’t be genuine,' said Mr. Flix, a senior who is president of the university’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, the umbrella group for the nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities on campus. But, he added, 'the true test of character is the actions that follow the words.'

I'm shocked that there are all black fraternities on campus. Isn't that racist?
____________________

Months ago, when the truly reprehensible Crack Emcee roosted here, I recall having a discussion about reverse racism. His argument was that no action or opinion held by blacks towards whites could be construed as racist. It was all in the numbers you see. Minorities are allowed by definition to hold racist views and to act in racist ways.

Ambrose said...

Thank you @Michael for taking notice of my little post. What can a College tell a student? Can it tell them that cheating is wrong? that being respectful of fellow students is right? that the sun rises in the East? Do you have a first amendment right to require your school not to tell you that 2 + 2 is 4? I know you have a first amendment right not to be jailed for proclaiming that 2+2 is 5 - but can you really not see the difference with a state university?

Titus said...

This is deep red state republican public college Okie we are talking about, right?

Leave them alone! Please, at least they are not lynching.

Lynching is done in private too.

Michael said...

Ambrose

A state institution should especially honor the idea of free speech and should be insistent that its very existence is predicated upon honoring that idea not only when, but especially when, speech is launched that offends the very principles the university stands for.

Your examples are wonderful examples of what a student should have learned from his parents, church, lower and middle schools. The fact that you bring them up underscores the way in which colleges have come to view students as infants who have to be taught fundamental points of ethics. The university fraternity in question sang an objectionable song that they should have been ashamed to sing, that their parents would be (and apparently are) ashamed to have them sing. But they did not break any laws other than the law of not hurting feelings.

Lem said...
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Laslo Spatula said...

I thought the song sounded too close to something Marvin Gaye wrote.


I am Laslo.

The Godfather said...

Of course the fraternity song is repellant. That's the whole point. We need to be reminded that free speech protections are needed ONLY to protect repellant speech, that is, speech that people with power believe is repellant.

In other times and other places, it was regarded as repellant to advocate that Blacks or women be allowed to vote, or that Gays be allowed to marry or hold a job, or, earlier, that Americans were entitled to the rights of Englishmen, or that slavery should be abolished.

Ambrose said...

@Michael. I don't agree but thank you for thoughts. College have an educational mission which is at odds with the view that anything goes. They must be allowed to teach.

D. said...

most of rap music is "racist and sexist". when you be against that shit ms althouse. eff black privilege.

Michael said...

Ambrose

"Anything goes" is not what is being argued here.

Where have I suggested that colleges not be allowed to teach? You understand the concept of straw men?

BTW colleges have been doing their best to subordinate five thousand years of western tradition to the very idea of doing whatever feels good.

Tom DeGisi said...

Ambrose,

I agree. Teach NOT expel. This (black) professor said it well.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mariadixonhall/2015/03/a-teachable-moment-how-ou-failed-transformation-101/

Yours,
Tom

The Godfather said...

Thanks, Tom DeGisi, for the link to Prof. Hall's remarks. Very powerful and very persuasive. Everyone out to read them.

traditionalguy said...

Racist speech is protected and serves everyone because it exposes what speakers think.

But what degree of utter stupidity should be protected. Making that song a National Social Fraternity's claim to fame makes you wonder where these people and their families have been for the last 50 years. Are they Rip Van Winkles waking up after two and a half twenty year deep sleeps?

SAE is a snobbish clique of assholes. That's a well known fact. They always have been. Too bad, so sad.

But I never before realized how utterly ignorant and pathetically stupid smart ass white boys clinging to being racists could look in the era when educated people know that mixed DNA family lines are not a defect but make superior offspring.

Freeman Hunt said...

Sure, it's protected by the First Amendment. But if I had a son in that fraternity, he could forget about my writing any tuition checks until he left it.

sane_voter said...

This should get 10x the attention some song some college kids were singing.

Black Dem state rep calls 18 month old son of white GOP colleague racist

chickelit said...

@sane_voter: Aren't 18 month old black babies afraid of "white devils"? It's instinctual.

Known Unknown said...

I too, find this explanation incredibly convenient now.

Known Unknown said...

I too, find this explanation incredibly convenient now.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I read that a little while ago.

Someone from the national chapter was quoted anonymously as saying it had gone on for some time and they were trying to find out when the cancer started.