By Steve Watson at InfoWars.com
In a blatant violation of the right to free speech, a college student in Connecticut has been suspended after he asked Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy several questions about his stance on gun control during an appearance at a public forum.
The student, Nicholas Saucier, approached Malloy after the campus event at Asnuntuck Community College, and asked him to address his support for gun control legislation which, Saucier claims, has negatively impacted the student’s ammunition manufacturing business.
The exchange, which occurred in October of last year, was caught on video.
As the video shows, Saucier was polite and courteous and was simply asking legitimate questions of his elected representative.
“Do you have any comments about how the legislation has affected my business?” Saucier asks in the video, commenting “All of our work got outsourced to another state.”
Malloy clearly has little interest in engaging the student before he gets into a car and drives away, prompting Saucier to call him a “fucking snake”. The president of Asnuntuck Community College is seen attempting to push Saucier away from the Governor, before reporting the student to a campus security officer, claiming that Saucier attacked the governor, quickly qualifying that he meant “verbally”.
After being escorted from the campus, Saucier was charged with harassment and making threats, among other violations of the college’s conduct policies. The college refused to review the video evidence of the incident and was suspended on the grounds that his “continued presence on campus would present a danger to the persons, property and/or academic process of the College.”
The incident has prompted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to step in and appeal the case. “Being pushy isn’t against the law … he was perfectly within his constitutional rights,” Peter Bonilla, director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program said.
ACC demanded that Saucier plead guilty to the charges in an informal hearing and then undergo counseling. He refused, instead demanding a formal hearing so he could defend himself.
FIRE notes that Saucier was denied a fair hearing by the college:
At his November 18 hearing, ACC gave itself discretion to “decide what information is appropriate” for consideration, then refused to review Saucier’s videos showing his speech to be protected by the First Amendment. It also prohibited any recording of the hearing, depriving Saucier of a fundamental safeguard colleges routinely afford students. These unwritten abridgements to ACC’s written procedures severely impaired Saucier’s ability to defend himself.
The College found Saucier guilty of all charges, and he is now on probation, with the threat of expulsion hanging over him, should any more similar incidents occur. FIRE has written to ACC demanding that the college “reverse its severe violations of Saucier’s free speech and due process rights.”
“This case stands as a startling example of what can happen when disrespect for student First Amendment rights is combined with disregard for student due process rights,” said Peter Bonilla.
“College students, like every citizen have an expectation to speak with their elected officials,”
Bonilla said. “These kinds of conversations are common and directly engaging with elected officials is constitutional.”
“ACC’s myriad violations of Nicholas Saucier’s rights, effective rewriting of its conduct procedures, and failure to rectify its errors should give all Americans great concern.” Bonilla added.