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Syracuse University

Students Suspended After Satirical Frat Videos

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Syracuse University suspended 15 students for one to two years after the unearthing of videos in which the students say things which, while pretty nasty, clearly fall under free speech and free expression, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Well, Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud brought out all of the pejoratives of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, etc., but the fraternity said “Each semester our new members are given the opportunity to write and act out a skit, in order to roast the active brothers. This event was never intended to be centered around racism or hate. This year, one of these brothers is a conservative Republican, and the new members roasted him by playing the part of a racist conservative character. It was a satirical sketch of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist, ableist and intolerant person.”

And the students weren’t just defending themselves. Ari Cohn, a lawyer with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free speech nonprofit, said “labeling this obvious satire ‘harassment’ makes light of the actual cases of serious harassment that colleges should be looking to combat, and wastes resources that could be used to investigate real offenses.”

One of Syracuse’s own law professors, Gregory Germain, doesn’t agree. The school appointed him as an adviser to the accused students but didn’t let him speak during the hearings. He said the university didn’t explain how the videos constituted harassment and that the incident “sends a strong message to students that they are disposable if they unintentionally embarrass the administration….The chancellor has put the university on a course toward censorship of the worst kind: undefined censorship that can be punished after the fact, even though not foreseen. Anyone who cares about our university should be very worried about this result.”

How long before Syracuse starts punishing ALL frat and sorority members like Harvard does, blocking them from applying for Rhodes scholarships or holding campus leadership positions?

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