University of Georgia: Student Faces Charges for Complaint about Parking Services

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Georgia

On August 17, 2010, University of Georgia graduate student Jacob Lovell e-mailed UGA Parking Services with a joking complaint about what he perceived to be its poor job of providing parking for scooters. Parking Services reported his e-mail to UGA’s judicial affairs office. On September 3, 2010, Associate Dean of Students Kimberly Ellis notified Lovell that the university had charged him with "disorderly conduct" and "disrupt[ing] parking services when he sent an email to them that was threatening." After FIRE wrote UGA President Michael F. Adams, explaining that Lovell’s grievance was protected by the First Amendment and that administrators could be held personally liable by a court for such a violation of students’ constitutional rights, UGA finally withdrew the charges, but Lovell had been under the threat of significant punishment for a month.