NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
By Elizabeth Kreft at The Blaze
A Connecticut community college suspended a student after he approached Gov. Dannel Malloy and asked him several questions about gun control laws, according to the Daily Caller.
Saucier recorded his conversation with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, seen here gesturing away from the student. (Image source: YouTube)
Nicholas Saucier, a student at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, recorded video of a conversation in October 2013 with Malloy, a Democrat, who was speaking at ACC that day. Saucier tried to get Malloy to answer questions about his support for gun control legislation, which has put Saucier’s ammunition manufacturing business in jeopardy. The conversation was halted abruptly when Malloy got into his car and left.
The Daily Caller reported:
Shortly thereafter, Saucier received notice from the administration that he was suspended on grounds that his “continued presence on campus would present a danger to the persons, property and/or academic process of the College.”
The student was officially charged with engaging in harassment and showing disrespect for Malloy, in violation of ACC’s student code. Administrators claimed that Saucier became increasingly hostile, called Malloy a “[f***ing] snake,” and reached into his pocket for something that could have been a weapon (it was actually a video recording device.)
“Being pushy isn’t against the law … he was perfectly within his constitutional rights,” Peter Bonilla, director of the Individual Rights Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told TheBlaze.
Bonilla’s organization has come to the student’s defense; FIRE called on Asnuntuck Community College to drop its disciplinary action against Saucier, saying the college deprived the student of crucial due process protections, and refused to review “exculpatory video evidence,” according to their website.
“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.”
Saucier followed Malloy to his vehicle while filming the entire encounter, and was eventually restrained by the college president and later escorted off the campus by a security officer, according to Bonilla.
Saucier recorded the conversation that stretched from the college hallways to the parking lot.
Bonilla admitted “most people would probably agree with you” that Saucier seemed agitated and perhaps even aggressive in the video, and certainly Malloy was well within his rights to leave the conversation, as he did.
A spokesperson from Asnuntuck Community College told TheBlaze that they are seeking a correction from FIRE, saying their statement on the situation is “categorically false,” and that Saucier was suspended for his harassing behavior and not the subject matter. They declined to go into any more specifics, citing Saucier’s privacy.