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Note to university presidents: Hate speech is free speech, and you can’t punish it

Another university president seems to be laying the groundwork for punishing a fraternity member for what he said.

The University of Maryland is reeling from an “offensive email” sent more than a year ago by a Kappa Sigma member but only forwarded to the administration on Tuesday, no doubt for maximum impact, The Diamondback reports:

The fraternity member allegedly wrote the email during last year’s spring rush period, addressing Kappa Sigma members and telling them — through the use of various racial slurs — to avoid inviting black, Indian and Asian women to their rush parties.

The student also alluded to sexual assault, writing “f— consent.” …

After learning of the email, the fraternity immediately suspended the member, who subsequently submitted a letter of resignation, according to a statement released this morning by the national Kappa Sigma chapter in response to the email.

Elite Daily has a screenshot of the email, including the sender’s name, “AJ Hurwitz.” It’s a piece of work.

President Wallace Loh wrote in a statement yesterday that the school “immediately met with the individual involved” when it learned of the email, “and a University investigation is currently underway, led by the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct.”

Loh conducted a Twitter chat this afternoon in response to the uproar – you can see some of the questions (and many more pitchforks-in-the-air statements) using the hashtag #LohChat – and said some troubling things himself.

It starts promising…

Then goes downhill.  



Loh then pulls out this tired trope…



Which provokes a useful rejoinder from Ari Cohn at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:


Read the full Diamondback story, and search #LohChat if you want to be depressed about the future leaders of America.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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