Feds Investigate Fordham for Punishing Student who Posed with a Gun on Instagram

August 23, 2020

Fordham University in the Bronx, New York student Austin Tong was banned from campus and could face expulsion if he does not take steps to make amends. This ban comes as netizens reported Tong for June 3rd and 4th pictures he posted on Instagram posing with his legally owned AR-15 and a picture of Officer David Dorn. June 4th was the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests.

David Dorn, 77, was a retired African-American police officer who was murdered by a supposed Black Lives Matter protestor Stephan Cannon on June 2 in St. Louis, Missouri. Tong was not happy with that incident and posted a picture of the brave officer on his Instagram page and titled it “Y’all a bunch of hypocrites.”

“He was a fine man [Dorn] nobody cared about him because perhaps he didn’t fit their [Democrats] political agenda or criteria,” Tong stated to Campus Reform. “He was a fine officer, he was a black man, and he should be cared about but nobody cared. How is that racist?” Tong asked.

Austin Tong’s “infamous” Instagram Post. Image via Instagram

On June 4, the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen Square, Tong posted a picture of himself posing with his legally owned AR-15 in remembrance of what happened to Democratic activists in China. “That event tells us in America and tells people around the world why people should be armed, why we should be grateful in this country we have the 2nd Amendment to protect ourselves from government and keep them in check,” Tong stated.

Tong received a notice from the school stating his posts violated its policy and that he will be barred from campus unless he obtains permission from the dean of students. He will be forced to complete the rest of his courses online. The university said the sanctions are “non-appealable and final,” according to Campus Reform.

Tong is currently in the beginning stages of suing Fordham University.

Also, the Department of Education has opened an investigation into Fordham misrepresenting itself to students and parents by claiming to promote freedom of expression and free speech.

“In its Demonstration Policy, Fordham promises prospective students, their parents, and other potential consumers in the market for education certificates ‘[e]ach member of the University has a right to freely express their positions and to work for their acceptance whether they assent to or dissent from existing situations in the University or society.’ Fordham further promises not to infringe on students’ right ‘to express [their] positions’ and engage in ‘other legitimate activities.’” The Department of Education stated in its notice.

“However, Fordham fails to warn prospective students, their parents, and other potential consumers in the market for education certificates of their liability to potential discipline for the lawful off-campus expression of thoughts and constitutionally protected conduct that happens to be disfavored by Fordham’s education bureaucrats,” DOE added.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is defending Tong and announced Thursday, August 20, they received a response from Fordham in-regards to Tong’s lawsuit to which Fordham stated Tong “deliberately ignores Fordham’s prerogative to limit a student’s free expression rights which are outlined in the University Code of Conduct…Specifically, the University Code of Conduct prohibits students from engaging in ‘[physical abuse, sexual abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.”

“Fordham University finally admitted a truth that FIRE and Fordham students have known for a while: Fordham just doesn’t care about student speech rights,” FIRE stated. “Sure, Fordham makes big promises about freedom of expression. The university ‘guarantees the freedom of inquiry’ to students, and claims they have ‘a right to freely express their positions and to work for their acceptance whether they assent to or dissent from existing situations in the University or society.”

FIRED continued, “When it comes to actually honoring those promises, Fordham’s recent track record is ugly.”

“Because Fordham isn’t pretending that it cares about free speech anymore, it should update its mission statement and policies. It should also alert its accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which requires that an accredited university ‘possess and demonstrate…a commitment to academic freedom, intellectual freedom, [and] freedom of expression,’” FIRE stated.

Feature Images via Instagram

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