By: George Copsis
Oklahoma University expelled members of its Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity last week because of a racial video that went viral last week. The video shows the members singing a chant that uses very offensive language towards African Americans.
The video and expulsions sparked discussions on USC's campus. The argument is over whether the students' ranting should be protected as free speech or they deserved the punishment of expulsion from the university.
Columnist Ross Abbott wrote an article in the Daily Gamecock's opinion section stating hate speech was, in fact, protected by long legal precedent and the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the expulsions were wrong.
This infuriated Shana Bethea, a fourth year broadcast journalism student. She disagreed with Abbott, citing what she says she learned in her media law classes about hate speach. She backed the expulsions.
"I get that you're saying that it's freedom of speech but no over here like it's not what it is, that's not freedom of speech, that itself is hate speech, that's basically what I was trying to say," said Shana
The students had different opinions on the subject and claimed evidence to back it up but in the end a professional was the only real end to the debate.
"The overarching thing in terms of speech when it applies is it's typically protected. We protect speech, we mostly protected speech that people don't like," said Dr. Erik Collins.
Dr. Erik Collins is a media law professor at USC and said no one cares to protect the speech we like, it's the speech people are angered by that are almost always protected.
Students were asked how they would feel if a video from a fraternity on USC's campus was leaked, and if they would agree to expell those certain students.
"I would feel betrayed you know what I mean," said USC student Sean Beech.
He says he has a lot of friends in fraternities and hopes nothing like that would happen here because he would feel betrayed by them.
Other students did not hesitate in considering those certain fraternity members for expulsion.
"If that happened here I think there should be consequences. Definitely being expelled should be seriously considered," said sophomore Alexandra Bentzlin.
The Greek letters have been removed from the fraternity house at Oklahoma University and all members had to be moved out by last night. An event will be held in Oklahoma City where a former OSU student will speak about the incident.