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President who expelled students for speech gets praise from Obama, university staff

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.

Certainly his former University of Chicago colleague Geoffrey Stone, who hired Obama as a law lecturer, strongly disagrees that Boren’s actions were “heartening.”

Read the staff statement and watch the Obama video.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.