University Police Harass & Discipline Student For Social Media Gun Post

On the anniversary of the Tianamene Squarre Massacre , a Chinese-American student at Fordham University in New York posted an Instagram pic of himself holding his AR-15 with the accompanying phrase "don't tread on me."

Austin Tong, who emigrated from China as a child, posed for a photo holding a legally-obtained gun off-campus.

Tong also posted a photo of former St. Louis Police Capt. David Dorn, killed by looters as he tried to protect a friend’s pawn store, which Tong captioned “Y’all are a bunch of hypocrites.”

Safety officers from Fordham showed up at his house a few hours after his post hit Instagram in an attempt to harass him.

He told the NRA Institute for Legislative Action “"[I] received a call from the officers saying they were a few minutes away and wanted to talk.I looked out my door and saw them standing outside my home. One came in and one stayed with the car. It was basically about 20 minutes of questions about the firearm, why I posted the pictures, and what I was trying to say."

Then Fordham's administration threw the book at Tong for his post, charging him with "Bias and/or Hate Crimes" and "threats/intimidation," according to a disciplinary letter from the school.

He's also banned from campus and must complete his degree online. If Tong needs to go on-campus, he has to get permission beforehand.

He says:

“while what happened to me is a total disgrace, I hope to use my example as an opportunity for the millions of people out there that fear to freely speak, and to protest the serious case of speech censorship in college campuses...
As the country is facing a disastrous constitutional crisis, it is no time to stay silent, and we have been silent for way too long. It only takes the courage of the few to spark the patriotism of many. We will use this opportunity to let the world know that now is the time that we must speak loudly, fight for our rights, and let those who silence speech know they will face consequences."

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education writes about Tong’s case: 

"As a private institution, Fordham is not bound by the First Amendment. But it is bound by the explicit, repeated, and unequivocal promises of freedom of expression it makes to its students, including in its own mission statement: "Fordham strives for excellence in research and teaching and guarantees the freedom of inquiry required by rigorous thinking and the quest for truth."

Tong has filed suit against Fordham for failing to "substantially adhere[] to its own published rules and guidelines for disciplinary proceedings." 

Eugene Volokh points out “that it’s a cause of action that New York courts recognize even against private universities.”

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