Former Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes’s federal lawsuit against VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari and other university officials continues apace. Zaccari expelled Barnes from VSU for engaging in peaceful political protest in May of 2007. In the lawsuit, Barnes alleges that his expulsion violated his First Amendment right to free expression, among other grievances.
Last week, Barnes’s legal team, which includes eminent First Amendment attorney and FIRE Legal Network member Robert Corn-Revere, filed a memorandum in support of a motion for partial summary judgment in Barnes’s favor. It’s an excellent read for anyone following Barnes’s shocking case, as it dissects at length the spurious arguments proffered by Zaccari and VSU as they attempt to justify their unconstitutional actions. If the court grants Barnes’s motion, the court will be denying VSU’s motion to dismiss the charges and sending the case to trial on the grounds that “no genuine issues of material fact” remain.
Of course, FIRE will keep you updated on the status of Barnes’s motion. Relatedly, FIRE spoke with Barnes in last week’s episode of FIREside Chats, and heard firsthand the effect the case has had on him, along with his advice for other students who have dealt with such issues on campus. Also, be sure to check out FIRE’s short film about Barnes’s case, featuring on-location video from VSU’s unconstitutional free speech zone.