Racists On Campus – What Would You Do?

Racists On Campus – What Would You Do?


Last week at Oklahoma University (OU), a few students sang a racist song at a fraternity that was degrading to black individuals. This openly racist behavior was recorded and hit the internet, making the rounds on prominent news and entertainment shows. The President of the university, David Boren, quickly expelled 2 identifiable students in the video saying, “We have a zero tolerance for threatening racist behavior,” and added, “As long as I am president, those individuals will not attend college here.”

This has sparked quite a bit of controversy with great debate on both sides. Some feel the president did the right thing while others feel he violated the student’s right to free speech. Below, I will provide a link to the coverage and lay out the arguments – pro and con – and I hope you can add your thoughtful comments below:

Pro: Oklahoma University and other universities have to create a positive environment where all students can feel safe and comfortable to live and learn. If the president of the University did not condemn the actions of these individuals, he would send the wrong message to blacks and other minorities. This would ultimately change the climate of the university and alter the way people viewed this university. Perhaps future minority students would look elsewhere to attend college. People would brand Oklahoma University as a racist institution or at least a place where the leaders allowed such views to go unchecked. OU did the right thing by expelling these students. They sent a clear message to all minorities that this a welcoming place for them and protected the image of the university.

Con: While it is deplorable to be a racist and to sing racist songs, it is not against the law to be a racist. As such, the president of OU overstepped his bounds by ending the educational career of these students. Some have argued that expelling these students is a violation of their civil rights. Secondly, universities are supposed to be a place where education and dialog take place. This was an opportunity for discussion and “real” learning to take place. Imagine if members of the faculty and the student body met with these individuals to discuss their emotions and allow the offending students to make a mends. In the wake of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches at Selma, the leadership at OU missed a golden opportunity to use their university as a world-wide classroom and to create real change. Instead, the university took the easy route.

Your Turn:
1) If you were the president of the university, how would you have handled the situation? Why?
2) If this happened at your school, how would this make you feel? How would it change the climate of your school? What would you hope the principal would do?

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  1. If I were the president of the university, I would have handled the situation the exact same way because there shouldn’t be a tolerance for anyone trying to make another human being worthless due to the color of their skin. If this happened at my school, it would make me feel really upset that anyone could let this happen. It would make the school feel unequal and I would hope the principal punished the students for their behavior and took it seriously.

  2. I would not handle racism if I was the presdident of the University, that is just wrong. Just like the golden rule says treat others you would like to be treated, just your color of your skin religon shouldn’t matter espcially at school. School is a place to feel welcomed and ready to learn. I would stand up and tell the other people not to hold racism.

  3. Racism is going to happen, however there must be consequences for these actions. The president did good in expelling those students.

  4. I would have handled it the exact way that they did because all people should be equal and it doesn´t matter what color they are. If this happened at our school, I hope the principal would expell the kids that were criticizing the colored students. It would for sure change school. It would make me feel disappointed in the principal and especially the students.

  5. I absolutely agree with the expulsion of these students. Although it isn’t against the law to be racist, infringing on the rights of others to their own happiness in an offensive and unjustifiable manner is intolerable. It disturbs the peace on campus and honestly, Oklahoma University is much better off without arrogant, racist assholes.

  6. The president did the right thing by expelling the students. Some people may argue and say that it was their freedom of speech, but there is a difference between freedom of speech and being rude. If that happened at my school, I would go right to the principal and tell him to expel the kids that sang the song. I am strongly against racism and would handle the situation the exact same way.

  7. The world has gone so damn soft. This is ridiculous the students should not get in trouble. I thought this country had freedom of speech.

  8. I totally agree with the principle of that university, racism is retarded and is completely uncalled for

  9. I believe that the principle of the university did every thing that I would do if it was me as the principle. If this was to happen to me at my school it would make me feel unconformable, I would feel that just because of my color people are going to judge me and be disrespectful. I would hope that the principle would do the same thing at the principle at the university did.

  10. If I was the president of the university I would have not only kicked them out I would also make them apologize publicly to everyone they have offended because by them doing that it can cause a bad reputation for the school and that was just disrespectful.

  11. 1.) If I was the president of the university I would’ve handled the situation exactly how the current president did by expelling these students because of the simple fact that if you are at a university you are now an adult in the making of a future for yourself and it is okay if you want to be racist but it is a different story when you have to verbally attack African American people. You should never speak in public about racism especially if you are going to sing and chant it in front of many students and expect there to be no consequences.

    2.) If this happen at my school I would feel so angry. It would change the climate of my school by their being many fights and arguments with those racist people as well as the people defending them for getting expelled. I would hope the principal would expel the students who did that and suspend those students who defend them because they are now causing just as much violence.