(CBS) — The University of Oklahoma is taking more action against students in a racist video that’s gone viral, but CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports, the punishment raises constitutional questions.
As the Sigma Alpha Epsilon members moved out of their frat house at the University of Oklahoma, the school expelled two students seen in the video making racist chants.
Though the chants were certainly hateful, could the students be protected by the First Amendment? Perhaps, says CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lawsuit right away, asking for immediate reinstatement,” he said. “The bottom line: it’ll be up to a judge to decide.”
Constitutional protections or not, what’s heard on the video is a national embarrassment for the fraternity.
James Regan and Courtney Quam, students at Chicago’s DePaul University, saw it for the first time on our phone.
“I watched it and I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they would do that,'” said Quam.
Regan, a member of another fraternity insists his frat brothers would quickly stop racist chants if they heard it.
The fallout for Sigma Alpha Epsilon is growing with the release of another video showing the frat’s house mother in Oklahoma chanting the N-word with a rap video.
DePaul student Hakeem Moulton was planning to join the SAE, but not now.
“I don’t want brothers like that, in Oklahoma, that’s thinking that of a black person,” Moulton said.
In expelling the two students from school, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said they had created a “hostile environment” on campus.
Boren said when others in the video are identified, they too, will face discipline.
If this case goes to court, the university likely will argue all Oklahoma students are governed by a code of conduct spelled out by the university.