NEW YORK, NY – Colleges are supposed to be teaching young adults the knowledge necessary for them to succeed in life.
The professors and the administrators of the school are supposed to foster an environment of creativity and self-expression, yet, Fordham University did the exact opposite of that.
They barred a young adult from returning to the property (without an escort), after he had posted a picture of himself with a legally owned firearm, while being off campus, on Instagram.
Brendan Cahill, the Executive Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham even has a quote on their webpage.
The quote reads:
“Our programs send students out into the world, into war-torn, famine-ravaged countries, to care for the dignity and wee-being of those more vulnerable then we are.”
If that is an accurate statement and reflection of the school’s values, then why did they ban a student from their campus who made reference to the Tiananmen Square Massacre? An incident which occurred in Beijing in 1989, in which students took over the square to call for the communist nation to loosen their grip and allow more freedoms.
Unfortunately for the students demonstrating, the Chinese government sent the military in with tanks and other armored elements which attacked the group. People in the area that reported on the incident believed a minimum of 300 people were killed by the military, some claim as many as a thousand died.
So, why would any university fault someone, especially a young man who has Chinese heritage, for making a statement that something like this cannot happen again? Oh, that would be because he posed while holding an AR-15.
On June 4th, Austin Tong, posed for a photograph while holding his AR-15. He was clearly not on campus, and legally owned and possessed the firearm. There were no threats made with the posting, just the caption of “Don’t tread on me. #198964.”
Initially, Fordham informed Tong that he somehow violated their policy on “bias and/or hate crimes” as well as “threats/intimidation.” Not sure how someone standing up for the mass murder of over 300 people protesting to be free from communism is an act of intimidation, hate crime, or a threat in any manner, but who knows.
As a result of the offensive post, Tong was kicked off the campus, and was told that he would not be allowed to return.
However, he was given the option of returning to campus provided he be escorted around the property by a member of the staff, but only when he gives at least a 48-hour notice. That 48-hour notice would give them the ability to schedule someone to escort him around the campus.
Tong told the Washington Free Beacon his thoughts on being forced to have an escort while on campus:
“Fordham graciously offered me a realistic historical simulation of being overseen by the Soviet secret police. This just exposes the sensitivity of Fordham and colleges on safe speech, resorting to extreme means to make sure students stay in line.”
Instead of rolling over and taking it, Tong filed a lawsuit against the school on July 23rd. In it, he alleges that the school infringed on his first amendment right to free speech, after it disciplined him for posting the photograph.
The lawsuit demands the school remove all sanctions from him immediately, and remove their conditions for returning to campus.
Fordham, most likely realizing they did not have legal grounds for their punishments, withdrew the requirement of an apology letter and implicit bias training, however, they felt that forcing him to give 48 hour notice before stepping foot on campus and being escorted was still reasonable. Tong said that he will most likely not return to the campus, and does not believe that the school nor students want him there anyway.
Tong will continue with his legal battle against the school, and his belief that his free speech was infringed upon.
He currently has a GoFundMe page to help offset his legal costs. Tong explains his rationale for the lawsuits are because “America is under attack. Americans are being silence.”
Tong wrote on his GoFundMe page:
“I hope to use my punishment as a milestone and reflection of the Constitutional crisis we are facing today as a society. Coming to this country as an immigrant, one would think that America is a nation of law and free speech.
“Yet, that is no longer the case. I was forcibly silenced, faced verbal and assaulting harassment from mobs….Not simply did Fordham University break its promise and punish me, but it signaled to students nationwide, that free speech is a political trap that will destroy you.”
— Austin Tong (@realaustintong) July 14, 2020
Yet in the meantime, you’ve got this in Alabama:
AUBURN, AL –Parent’s send their children off to college with hopes that they will learn and experience more about life so that they will be better prepared as an adult.
What parents do not expect is for those that are teaching their child to unduly express their own belief system upon them.
In this case, one Auburn lecturer may have gone way too far in his anti-police rhetoric, and surprisingly, Auburn University may be stepping up to stop it.
Or… maybe not.
It’s worth knowing the level of derangement of those teaching your kids. This one is an #Auburn professor. I’m sure he’s doing a wonderful job preparing your kids for life. ?
Professor Watchlist – Jesse A. Goldberg https://t.co/hs6a96hkdw
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 30, 2020
Jesse Goldberg, a part-time American literature lecturer for the Auburn University, finds himself in hot water after his tweets on police appear to have upset school staff. WRBL was able to secure those tweets prior to him locking them down.
In them, he says:
“On the ground we continue to see police forces literally grab people off the streets and throw them into unmarked vans. If you haven’t seen the video of plainclothes NYPD officers throwing Nikki Stone into a van yet, it’s a brutal display of fascism….It’s kidnapping. ACAB. Yes, all.
“Police do not protect people. They protect capital. Cops are instruments of violence on behalf of capital. Literally the only ethical decision for a cop in this moment is to refuse to do their job, to quit. The only good cop is a cop who quits.
“Those two things – the Dem party platform and police as violent protectors of private property over actual people’s lives – may seem at odds, but they are sides of the same coin of a bipartisan politics of death.
Most frustrating to me is that both points are about institutions – the Democratic Party and police department – that liberals continue to have faith in as things that can improve people’s lives, and yet things which are actually obstacles for building the world we need.”
Auburn University seemingly stepped up to the plate when they learned of this behavior and stated that the attitude presented is “inexcusable and completely antithetical to the Auburn creed.”
According to AL.com, Auburn said:
“As stated earlier this week, Mr. Goldberg’s comments on social media are inexcusable and completely antithetical to the Auburn Creed.
Higher education is built upon the premise of the free expression of ideas and academic dialogue, but Auburn has not and will never support views that exclude or disrespect others, including hateful speech that degrades law enforcement professionals.
Mr. Goldberg was hired on a temporary, non-tenure-track assignment.”
It's not just Jun. When Jesse Goldberg, an incoming lecturer at Auburn, denounced the police on Twitter last week, a state legislator, a Congressional representative, and thousands of strangers demanded his termination.https://t.co/zxIKlcog8L
— Jeffrey Sachs (@JeffreyASachs) August 10, 2020
AL.com did ask if there were any plans for disciplinary action to be taken against Goldberg to which they gave no direct answer.
They did, however, say “university officials continue to assess the situation to ensure Auburn remains a campus where mutual respect and understanding is paramount.”
According to WRBL, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a statement that read:
“Faculty members at public universities possess the First Amendment right to share their personal thoughts on matters of the day without institutional censorship or punishment.
We haven’t reported a single story where they’ve backed a Conservative professor – but that’s beside the point.
“The First Amendment protects faculty who subscribe to the belief that police should be defunded or prisons abolished, just as it protects those who oppose those beliefs. Auburn cannot lawfully punish Goldberg for his comments, which are protected by the First Amendment, no matter how offensive or outrageous others might find them.”
While Goldberg is certainly entitled to his First Amendment rights to free speech on his off time, it is a legitimate question as to whether or not he spews the same type of lies and hate while teaching.
And even if he does not spew those lies and hate in the classroom, if he were to go on a tirade of all black people being killers, would the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have the same opinion?
It’s a very different story in Galloway Township, New Jersey.
That’s where a college student may be facing disciplinary action – and even a fine – from his university because of having an image of Donald Trump visible during a class Zoom session and a political Facebook post where he decried the “leftist agenda” of Black Lives Matter.
Apparently the aforementioned offenses made fellow students feel threatened and the university even involved campus police.
NJ student faces disciplinary action for having Trump background on Zoom conference!
I am done with the leftist agenda of BLM and the white self-haters. I have seen it in action in my doctoral classes at Stockton and the general media. I'm not backing…https://t.co/S3MzX0RhfW
— usmade1001 (@usmade1001) August 10, 2020
However, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is fighting on the student’s behalf, saying that this university would be violating the First Amendment if they tried to pursue any discipline against the student.
Robert Dailyda is a doctoral student at Stockton University who is at the center of all this madness over a picture of Trump and Facebook post. On July 1st, Dailyda used a photo of President Trump as his background image during a Zoom virtual class. One student had sent a private message to Dailyda during the class being critical of Dailyda’s choice in background photo.
Later on in the day, after the class had ended, numerous other students used a GroupMe chat to further criticize Dailyda about the depiction of President Trump where Dailyda exchanged a “heated” debate with fellow students but nothing became “threatening” during the exchange.
New Jersey’s Stockton University, a 20-minute drive from Atlantic City, charged a student with disruptive behavior, discrimination, harassment, creating a “hostile environment,” causing “harm” and cyberbullying. His violation? Using Trump’s image as his Zoom background.
— Richard Byrne (@rickbyrne3) August 9, 2020
From there, Dailyda removed himself from the chat to avoid any further conflict over a picture of the president.
On the same day, Dailyda took to Facebook to air some grievances over what he coined a the “leftist agenda”. The post, which was tame in nature, is what really got some feathers ruffled to the point of the school getting involved.
According FIRE, the post stated the following:
“I have gotten to the point that I have to say something. I love this country. We are a diverse, yet assimilated population from all backgrounds.
I believe all must have the same opportunities and I commit to make that a priority. Beyond that, I am done with the leftist agenda of BLM and the white self haters.
I have seen it in action in my doctoral classes at Stockton and the general media. I’m not backing down. If we can’t get past this, ok, I’m ready to fight to the death for our county and against those that want to take it down. I believe there are also many like me.”
Dailyda then added a comment to his own post that stated the following:
“I’m surprised how many people are quiet…maybe not…”
Another Facebook used replied to the comment Dailyda put on his post with:
“That’s what we do. (Quiet) but we aim with precision. Boom done. No drama.”
In an unsurprising turn, students from Stockton saw the post and claimed that is seemed threatening.
In an incident report submitted on July 22nd, the Stockton’s Director of Care and Community Standards, Amy Jones Rozell, cited the two incidents as a “violation of University Code of Conduct” and considered it a “bias incident” (something typically used to describe threatening a group of people based upon race or gender).
What’s most ridiculous in the incident report is that what was considered particularly egregious was the response someone else made on Dailyda’s post about aiming “with precision”. The incident report tried to allege culpability to Dailyda via the following:
“This response was not written or responded to by Mr. Dailyda but the reporting parties did mention the words sounded threatening and they were concerned that Mr. Dailyda may have similar views and thoughts of violence.”
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Oh, but it wasn’t just the post appearing to have a threatening comment added by someone who is not Dailyda – students also claimed the post was “racist” (big shocker there):
“Those that reported the Facebook post indicated that they felt the language to be angry, potentially violent, racist, and intolerant.”
Because a post claiming how diverse our country is, how the author of the post wants everyone to have equal opportunities and that he’d fight to the death against those who aim to destroy our country is now racist.
Oh, it must be the part where Dailyda disagrees with the “leftist agenda of BLM and the white self haters”.
The charges that Dailyda is facing are violating the code of conduct for disruptive behavior, discrimination, harassment, creating a hostile environment, causing harm, and cyberbullying. The punishments that could be levied against Dailyda are the following:
- A $50 fine
- A community service project
- Attending a decision-making workshop
- And/or, attending a social justice workshop
Basically, the school believes that if found guilty of the wrong opinion, they can take money away from Dailyda, suspend him from school, induce forced labor and then send him to a reeducation camp…I mean “workshop”.
Instead, Dailyda did the right thing and sent over a letter from FIRE explain that the university was on the precipice of committing one giant no-no if they pursue this social justice debauchery any further.
Today, with FIRE's help, he’s fighting back.
FIRE reminded Stockton University of its obligation as a public institution to respect students’ First Amendment rights and explained that Dailyda’s expression does not constitute discriminatory harassment.https://t.co/MahF9ICSIL
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) August 7, 2020
It’s called the First Amendment, and the courts said that public university have to play by the rules as if they’re an extension of the government.
In a well-written letter to the President of Stockton, Dr. Harvey Kesselman, FIRE explained in great detail with legal citations the following reasons why Stockton needs to give this pursuit a rest:
- Stockton is bound by the First Amendment
- Dailyda’s Expression is Protected by the First Amendment
- Dailyda’s silent display (the background photo of Trump) cannot be penalized as “disruptive”
- The First Amendment protects offensive expression
- Dailyda’s expression does not constitute discriminatory harassment
- Dailyda’s expression does not constitute a true threat
- And finally, that Stockton may not punish Dailyda for another’s online expression
In closing, the letter drafted by Zachary Greenberg from FIRE enclosed the logical route for the school to take:
“Given the urgent nature of this matter, we request receipt of a response to this letter no later than the close of business on Tuesday, August 11, confirming that Stockton has abandoned pursuit of the charges against Dailyda.”
If Stockton University leaders are smart, they should likely oblige the request and leave the student be on this one.
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