University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who has likely made himself vulnerable to personal litigation by expelling two students for their role in a racist chant on a bus, continues earning kudos for his quick and decisive action against racism.
The Staff Senate at the university’s Norman campus released a statement to the Oklahoma Daily praising Boren for his “leadership” in the wake of “recent events that have left so many angry, stunned and shaken”:
We are proud to say we work somewhere where the phrase “Not on Our Campus” is more than a slogan, it truly is a what we hold true. We appreciate that those involved are being held accountable for their actions that upset so many and we appreciate the significant dialogue that continues. …
We are willing to do what we can as staff members to make OU a national example of a place where there is a commitment to equality and nonviolence.
It’s not clear what that last part means – the frat chants didn’t personally threaten any person, and the school’s rationale for punishing the alleged chant leaders and banishing the frat as a whole didn’t include its past treatment of African American applicants.
President Barack Obama also praised Boren, who preceded him as a U.S. senator, in a Huffington Post interview:
What was heartening was the quick response from President Boren, somebody who I know well and who I know has great integrity, [as well as the] quick reaction from the student body. The way we have to measure progress here is … how does the majority of our country respond?
Certainly condemning such racist expressions is appropriate. But mob rule to punish minority viewpoints – and Boren’s unilateral action that bulldozed over due process for the offending students was immensely popular – is not something to be celebrated by a constitutional law scholar like Obama.
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