Six Years After Expulsion for a Peaceful Protest, Decision May Come Any Minute in Infamous “Facebook Collage” Case

For those Ricochet readers familiar with FIRE’s work, you might recall a case that began six years ago dealing with Hayden Barnes, a student from Valdosta State University (VSU) who was expelled for peacefully protesting the planned construction of a parking garage on campus using a collage he posted on Facebook. I found this case so awful that I made it the opening story in my recent book, Unlearning Liberty.

As I write this, Hayden’s case is in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Valdosta Division. This week’s trial follows a series of other federal court rulings denying, among other motions, a motion by former VSU President Ronald Zaccari for summary judgment based on a “qualified immunity” defense. For those unfamiliar with the legal concept of qualified immunity, I explain it in some detail here. Bottom-line is, President Zaccari’s violation of Hayden’s constitutional rights is so bad he can, and in my opinion should, be held personally liable.

A verdict in this case is expected soon.

Today, FIRE also released a video featuring famed First Amendment lawyer Robert Corn-Revere. Bob, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, agreed to take on Barnes’ case after I told him about the case in 2007, and here talks about some of the particulars of the case, in addition to remarking on the important role free speech plays generally in our society.

  1. The New Clear Option

    We already don’t have adults who are able to maintain our republican (small r) freedoms. I’m not saying it’s too late to do something about it, but it’s gonna be a long road for those of us who love them.

  2. Vectorman

    Thanks Greg for posting.  Like the ‘Firefly” case at Wisconsin – Stout, each Administration takes forever to back down.  Please post again when this case is decided. 

  3. Greg Lukianoff
    C
    Vectorman: Thanks Greg for posting.  Like the ‘Firefly” case at Wisconsin – Stout, each Administration takes forever to back down.  Please post again when this case is decided.  · 1 hour ago

    Will do and fingers crossed. If this does not pierce QI and lend itself to a lot of damages I can’t think of much that would.

  4. Greg Lukianoff
    C

    The decision has been handed down! http://thefire.org/article/15395.html

    $50K in compensatory damages to the president is actually pretty good given that he is being held personally liable, and they have not even figured out attorneys fees yet. 

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