Greg in ‘Huffington Post’ on Eleventh Circuit’s Important Message to University Administrators

By on February 9, 2012

FIRE President Greg Lukianoff weighs in today at The Huffington Post on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s important ruling in Barnes v. Zaccari. As we highlighted in on our press release yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit’s unanimous decision affirms a lower court’s denial of qualified immunity to former Valdosta State University (VSU) president Ronald M. Zaccari for violating former VSU student Hayden Barnes’ due process rights.

Greg observes the following about the significance of this ruling:

The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling is a clear sign that university presidents and administrators that choose to brazenly violate student rights will not be able to do so without real consequences. As a result of yesterday’s ruling, Zaccari may be found personally liable for damages. That’s the equivalent of a bright neon warning sign to all would-be violators of student rights: Think twice!

 Be sure to read Greg’s full piece here

For more coverage of the decision, check out Frank LoMonte’s article for the Student Press Law Center (SPLC). LoMonte’s article echoes Greg’s in noting what the ruling could mean for student rights going forward, and has quotes from Bob Corn-Revere, Barnes’ attorney:

Barnes’ attorney, Bob Corn-Revere of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, said the court’s ruling as to Zaccari was a significant victory.

"Quite often, administrators will count on qualified immunity to shield them when they try to claim they weren’t exactly clear on the contours of the rights that protect the student," Corn-Revere said. "Here, the court made clear that (students) do have established rights and that administrators are not going to be able to hide behind the doctrine of qualified immunity."

Our thanks to The Huffington Post and the SPLC for covering the latest in Hayden Barnes’ case.

Schools: Valdosta State University Cases: Valdosta State University: Student Expelled for Peacefully Protesting Parking Garages