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Member since: Tue Mar 17, 2015, 04:22 PM
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Largest newspaper in Ohio: editorial on OU fraternity's racist song

March 18, 2015
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Let us stipulate that there is no defense possible for the vile lyrics of the song, nor for the unmistakable spirit of ribald celebration that was evident in the crowd as it was being sung -- and none is offered here. It is frankly difficult to absorb this latest evidence that such echoes of America's dark racist past are still at work in today's society, and we fully understand President Boren's anger and revulsion.

Inconveniently, however, the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment makes no exception for taste, civility or decorum in the types of free speech it protects. And satisfying though it may have been to lash out at the participants, Boren was overstepping legal bounds in booting them out of school.

The weight of Supreme Court decisions stands against expulsion. The Court has consistently defended such loathsome acts as defiling the U.S. flag, marches by such groups as the Nazi party and the KKK, and public pornography. In an on-point 1972 decision (Healy v. James), the Court specified that "state universities are not enclaves immune from the First Amendment."

The First Amendment does not protect specific threats of violence, and some have pointed to a line in the song: "You can hang him from a tree ..." But disgusting as that is, the line does not, in our estimation, constitute a real threat against an identifiable individual or group."


I personally condemn this defense of racism by this newspaper. Please contact them and tell them there is no room for racists in our universities and society.

Part of New Jersey’s Bias-Intimidation Law Is Ruled Unconstitutional

Source: New York Times

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the state’s unusual bias-intimidation law was unconstitutional, dealing a potential reversal to one of the most well-known hate crime prosecutions in recent history.

The state’s statute on bias intimidation was the only one of its kind in the nation in saying that defendants can be convicted of bias intimidation if their victims “reasonably believed” they were harassed or intimidated because of their race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

The court, the state’s highest, unanimously ruled that the 2001 statute was “unconstitutionally vague,” because it does not give defendants fair notice of when they are crossing the line to commit a crime.

The court upheld other parts of the statute that make it a crime to intimidate someone “knowing” that it would cause offense. But it struck down the provision that bases a conviction on the victim’s state of mind, ruling that it criminalizes a “defendant’s failure to apprehend the reaction that his words would have on another.”

Read more: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/nyregion/parts-of-new-jerseys-bias-intimidation-law-ruled-unconstitutional.html?referrer=

Hillary's lead over Republicans "largely unchanged" from pre-email polls (CNN)


Starbucks exec back on Twitter after #RaceTogether backlash

Source: CNN

Not everyone wants to discuss race relations while ordering their morning coffee, it seems.

That's the lesson Starbucks learned Tuesday after a torrent of Internet backlash was aimed at its new #RaceTogether campaign, which the coffee chain hoped would initiate a nationwide discussion of racial issues.

Corey duBrowa, the company's Senior Vice President of Global Communications, was personally attacked amid a storm of angry tweets. The executive deleted his Twitter account Monday night, only to rejoin the service less than 24 hours later.

"Last night I felt personally attacked in a cascade of negativity," duBrowa said in a post on Medium. "I got overwhelmed by the volume and tenor of the discussion, and I reacted."

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/17/news/companies/starbucks-race-backlash/

After racist e-mail, U-Md. presidents says: We fight speech with speech

Source: Washington Post

The president of the University of Maryland reached out Tuesday to the campus community – horrified by an offensive e-mail written by a student – and said he would meet with student leaders after spring break to talk about how to improve the campus climate. Wallace Loh, in effect, asked for patience, as the investigation into the incident continues, while emphasizing the importance of free speech.

The e-mail was written last year but went viral on social media in the days after the posting of a video of fraternity brothers at the University of Oklahoma ignited a national debate about race on campus.

The e-mail, which a U-Md. undergraduate who had been a member of the Kappa Sigma chapter on campus apparently wrote to several people about plans for a rush party, had something to offend just about everyone: He used several racial slurs, saying what types of women not to invite, and ended with a profane, and emphatic, dismissal of the idea of getting consent before sex.

National fraternity leaders have condemned the sentiments expressed in both cases; Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its chapter at OU.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/03/17/after-racist-e-mail-u-md-presidents-says-we-fight-speech-with-speech/

He seems to take a swipe at the approach taken by the U of Oklahoma's David Boren.
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