Academia is full of people who think the United States is a totalitarian dictatorship and will tell you so any chance they get. Of course, the fact that they can say it so loudly and not end up in a gulag is a pretty good indicator that they’re wrong, but they persist.
However, while saying such about the United States, they typically like to turn their universities into microcosms of the very thing they claim they’re fighting against.
For example, they like to punish students for gun-related free speech issues. That’s what Fordham University did to a Chinese immigrant who posed with a firearm in a photograph. Now, the student’s attorneys allege the university has ties to the very epitome of totalitarianism.
The attorney for Austin Tong, a Chinese immigrant student punished by Fordham University, recently alleged that the university has ties to the Chinese Communist Party that the institution wants to hide.
He argued that it is why the school wants to avoid discovery in the lawsuit it faces for its punishment of Tong.
Tong, a Chinese immigrant, was punished in June for posting a photo of himself holding an AR-15 with the caption “Don’t Tread on Me” and referencing the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Now, Edward Paltzik, his attorney, alleged that the Catholic college has a relationship with the People’s Republic of China that it wants to hide. The Department of Education sent a letter in August to Fordham seeking information on a possible discrepancy in foreign funding disclosure.
The DOE separately opened an investigation into the school’s treatment of Tong.
Fordham, however, argues that the punishment had nothing to do with the speech.
No, they claim Tong posed a threat.
Paltzik said the school’s court filing misrepresented the threat posed by Tong.
He noted that the dean of students, Keith Eldredge, conceded that public safety officers for Fordham did not consider Tong a threat after interviewing him and “Eldredge himself conceded that Tong did not violate the Weapons Policy.”
The university responded on September 21 reiterating a request for dismissal of the case. The school’s attorneys said “the personal insults leveled against Dean Eldredge are entirely baseless.” The university’s media relations office did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment in the past week.
Fordham’s attorneys reiterated their prior claim that Tong posed a threat to students and said Tong and his attorneys “raise a host of factually barren assertions to obfuscate Fordham’s absolute right to discipline a student for a violation of University policy.”
Except, Tong didn’t.
He posted a photo of him posing with an AR-15, the barrel pointed down, and a caption that read “Don’t Tread On Me.” The only way that’s a threat is if you are, indeed, planning on treading on Tong.
There was no threat issued and, as noted, public safety officers didn’t view Tong as a threat after talking to him.
Meanwhile, it appears that Fordham may well be in bed with a country that has even less respect for people’s rights than Fordham does. Awfully convenient.
At some point, universities need to be held to account for their repeated violations of students rights. It’s bad enough that they believe their sacred halls should be so sacrosanct that gun rights don’t apply there, but now they’re lashing out at students for what they do away from those halls as well.
My hope is that Tong and his attorneys hammer Fordham so hard that they don’t even think of doing anything like this again.