A lawyer representing Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity announced Friday that his clients are “not ruling out” legal action against the University of Oklahoma for disbanding the fraternity chapter and expelling two members after a video emerged of the group singing a racist chant.
Citing free speech laws, lawyer Stephen Jones said Friday that the disbanded chapter was exploring legal action against the university for shutting them down. “The university still has codes of conduct,” Jones said. “Whether any of those trump the First Amendment is yet to be determined.” Jones has previously represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
“Above all else, the board of the local chapter that I represent is concerned about the physical safety” of the students, Jones said, noting that some members have been “afraid to go to class.”
Jones slammed the University of Oklahoma for making a “premature rush to judgement” and questioned whether the University was allowed to “censure something or discipline them for nothing more than speech.”
He did not announce a specific lawsuit, and noted that SAE was hoping to find some other resolution, but said that he and the fraternity were reviewing their options.
The University of Oklahoma released a statement saying, “The University is continuing its investigation into the recent events relating to SAE and is seeking to learn all the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding those events. The University does not comment on any pending litigation.”