Expelled VSU student finds help with case - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Expelled VSU student finds help with case

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October 25, 2007

Valdosta - A non-profit educational foundation is joining forces with a VSU student who says he was expelled for peacefully protesting a school construction project.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, or FIRE, has agreed to help former Valdosta State University Junior Hayden Barnes.

Barnes was expelled shortly after posting a cartoon on his facebook page and writing a letter to President Ronald Zaccari, saying he didn't agree with the school's plan to build two new $30 million parking decks.

The president's office says the cartoon was threatening, and that he was a 'clear and present danger.'

Barnes and FIRE say he was simply voicing his opinion.  "His actions here, expelling Hayden for clearly protected political speech, are so beyond the pale constitutionally speaking, that it easily ranks as one of the worst abuses of power FIRE has seen," says Will Creeley, a Senior Promotions Officer at FIRE.

A hearing date to review Barnes case has been set by the Office of State Administrative Hearings for November 26th.

Administrators at VSU say they are still not able to comment, since the case in ongoing.

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