OU students rally outside the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house
  • Sue Ogrocki/AP
  • OU students rally outside the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house

I’ll be contradicted here. I probably should be contradicted here.

But I think the summary expulsion of two frat boys at Oklahoma for leading SAE in song is too harsh. Public humiliation is a reasonable reward for their behavior, and if the national SAE wants to close down the chapter, more power to it.

But a 19-year-old is a work in progress, and shaping him up is the job of a college, not tossing him out. Songs sung privately by adolescent drunks on a chartered bus fall, in my view, under speech the First Amendment requires the state to tolerate. We should hope to God they do.

They might also fall under our tattered expectations of privacy.

The odd thing is that despite the song sung on the bus, the OU chapter of SAE had already been integrated. But then, any institution built on a steady procession of 19-year-olds isn’t going to have much in the way of institutional memory. It’ll be a lot giddier than wise.

The difference between zero tolerance and intolerance comes down to what it is someone’s refusing to put up with. Both wear blinders.