Montclair State student suspended for online comments is reinstated: report

January 18, 2013

A Montclair State University student who was suspended over derogatory comments he made about a fellow student on some social media websites has been reinstated by the school, Montclair Patch and News12 is reporting.

Joseph Aziz, 26, of Weehawken, had made the initial comment about a woman in the comment section of a Youtube.com post in August and was ordered by college officials not to speak about the woman or have contact with her.

When he mentioned the incident on Facebook.com, school officials decided to suspend the graduate student, citing a violation of the no-contact order.

Both Aziz and a civil rights group, Foundation of Individual Rights in Education, believed that Aziz’s First Amendment free speech rights had been violated, and the group penned a letter to school President Susan Cole.

In a Jersey Journal poll on NJ.com, 75 percent of the readers who responded agreed with Aziz, saying that the school overreacted to the online comments.

On Thursday, the school rescinded the suspension, Patch reported.

“While Montclair State should never have issued its unconstitutional gag order in the first place, we commend President Cole for acting swiftly to end the situation once it became public,” wrote Foundation of Individual Rights in Education Vice President Robert Shibley, according to Patch.

Schools: Montclair State University Cases: Montclair State University: Student Barred from Campus for Violating Unconstitutional ‘Gag Order’