College Student’s Free Speech Rights

September 28, 2010

After reading about the recent decision in the case of Barnes v. Zaccari , I couldn’t help but think about how far this nation has regressed since the days of Vietnam era college protests. Hayden Barnes, a student at Valdosta State University in Georgia, was expelled from school for protesting the planned construction of a parking garage. That’s right, he protested a parking garage. Was he organizing sit ins and inciting riots? Not even close.  According to the decision, he ” started an initiative to raise public awareness of the issue and its potential environmental affects.” What he did do was post some flyers around campus expressing his concerns, e-mailed VSU officials, and began discussing the issue on his Facebook page.

That was enough for University President Ronald Zaccari, who deemed him “a clear and present danger” to the University and its president, and had him expelled.

The court held that Zaccari and the Board of Regents violated Barnes’ due process rights.

Read all the details (it gets worse) in this Huffington Post piece writen by Greg Lukianoff. Mr. Lukianoff is president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He has been following this case from the beginning. FIRE’s stated mission, according to its web site, is to “defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.”

Previous post:

Next post: