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Use discretion with your Freedom of Speech

posted Mar 12, 2015, 11:29 AM by Unknown user

A fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma was shut down along with the expulsion of two students after a video from one of the group’s bus rides went viral on social media according to an article posted by The Washington Post. The fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, made a chant using extremely racial slurs and derogatory language and it was recorded by one of the students on the bus. Following the release of this video, the fraternity house was cleared out, shut down, and the two students were expelled from OU.

This video shows the sophomoric attitude of some people. People say that Americans have risen above this sort of attitude, but this video proves otherwise. Some articles bring up the point of freedom of speech and that the students were just practicing their right to do just that. However, hate speech is often not protected under the First Amendment, and even if this qualifies as protected speech, this is a horrible way to use that right. People are people. Everyone has feelings. This language towards others makes you look terrible rather than prove whatever point you are trying to make.

While this editorial will only be published for a high school paper, all high school students that may read this will be going out into the real world in the next six months to three years. The lesson to take away is this: What you say or do on social media may have a huge effect on who you are able to become in the future, and it wouldn’t be smart to ruin your reputation before you even get out into the world. This incident proves that point. These students thought nothing of what they were doing, but now two of them were expelled from a state university. Everything you do does carry weight if the right (or wrong) people get their hands on it.