University of Rhode Island: Student Threatened with Discipline for Appealing Parking Ticket

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Rhode Island

On February 23, 2021, University of Rhode Island undergraduate Timothy Hecker got a parking ticket on campus. Hecker had purchased a Fine Arts Lot pass, but parked in the incorrect one of two Fine Arts Lots. In a strongly-worded appeal of his ticket through the Transportation and Parking office, Hecker wrote in relevant part, “Get lost guys, you’ll have to pry the $35 out of my cold dead hands you predatory, money hungry bastards.” A transportation official responded that “your choice of words in this appeal are [sic] inappropriate and not acceptable, and will be refered [sic] to student conduct if continued.” On March 18, 2021, FIRE wrote to URI reminding the public university that its employees cannot threaten students for exercising their First Amendment rights.