When Stockton University doctoral student Robert Dailyda shared a photo of President Donald Trump on Zoom, he didn’t think it would result in a massive fallout.
But it did.
The New Jersey college quickly filed six code of conduct charges against Dailyda, accusing him of “disruptive behavior” and penning a supposedly “inflammatory political Facebook post.”
Other charges included creating a hostile environment, bullying and cyberbullying, discrimination, and harm.
However, the incident caught the attention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and now, the situation has changed considerably.
FIRE took on Dailyda’s case and as a result, the school has altered its stance — so much so that most of the charges have now been dropped.
From Fox News:
A New Jersey college has backed off five of the six student code of conduct charges it had leveled against a student who used a picture of President Trump as his Zoom background and wrote an allegedly inflammatory political Facebook post…
Stockton is still saying the Facebook post counts as “disruptive behavior” but the other charges are gone.
And while the remaining charge could lead to a series of punishments, including probation, community service, and a fine, FIRE considers this a victory.
As the organization wrote on Twitter:
We appreciate that Stockton has rescinded the charges relating to Dailyda’s choice of a Zoom background image, and that the university will not punish him for it.
In doing so, Stockton correctly recognizes that the First Amendment bars it from punishing Dailyda’s protected speech.
As for the Facebook post, in which Dailyda wrote that he would “fight to the death for our country,” FIRE doesn’t believe this counts as a threat or disruptive behavior.
They added that Stockton University “must tread carefully on metaphorical political rhetoric.” And finished by saying, “we hope that this is not the hill Stockton wants to die on.”
Dailyda has maintained his innocence from the start. He believes he did nothing wrong and the charges were unwarranted.
The fight for freedom of speech continues, and many conservatives will say they feel pressure from leftist activists. They feel nothing can be said without backlash or fear of reprisals.
Dailyda wasn’t afraid to put his first amendment rights to the test, though. As he said in his post:
I have gotten to the point that I have to say something. I love this country. We are a diverse, yet assimilated population from all backgrounds. I believe all must have the same opportunities and I commit to make that a priority.
Beyond that, I am done with the leftist agenda of BLM and the white self haters. I have seen it in action in my doctoral classes at Stockton and the general media.
I’m not backing down. If we can’t get past this, ok, I’m ready to fight to the death for our county and against those that want to take it down. I believe there are also many like me.
Will Stockton drop the last remaining charge? And will more conservative students stand up for their right to speak?
- A Stockton University student was facing 6 charges for posting a Trump picture, and an “inflammatory” Facebook post.
- Rights group FIRE interceded and as a result, the school has dropped 5 of the 6 charges.
- They count this as a victory for freedom of speech, and hopes Stockton will “tread carefully” in the future.
Source: Fox News