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Former VSU student sues University

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January 11, 2008

Valdosta - A former student from Valdosta State University has filed a federal lawsuit against the school and it's president, Ronald Zaccari.

Hayden Barnes filed the lawsuit on Wednesday.

He says he feels the University violated his first and fourteenth amendment rights when they expelled him for voicing his opinion about building two new 30 million dollar parking decks on campus.

Zaccari took that opinion as a threat.

The lawsuit comes just a week before the Board of Regents is set to meet and determine if they will settle Barnes' appeal of the expulsion in or out of court.

That decision could determine the outcome of the suit. 

"I think that would be a powerful indicator in court for Hayden's lawsuit, that the first amendment was violated, that the University's own rules were violated and President Zaccari needs to be held accountable in a court of law for taking those actions," says Will Creeley, a spokesman for Barnes and FIRE.

Barnes is asking for any damages to be paid and to be allowed admission back to VSU.

The University say they are not able to comment since the case is still a pending legal matter.

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