Academic Horror Story (Podesta State)

From Inside Higher Ed:

T. Hayden Barnes opposed his university’s plan to build two large parking garages with $30 million from students’ mandatory fees. So last spring, he did what any student activist would do: He posted fliers criticizing the plan, wrote mass e-mails to students, sent letters to administrators and wrote a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper. While that kind of campaign might be enough to annoy university officials, Barnes never thought it would get him expelled.

Rather than ignore him or set up a meeting with concerned students, Valdosta State University, in Georgia, informed Barnes, then a sophomore, that he had been “administratively withdrawn” effective May 7, 2007. In a letter apparently slipped under his dorm room door, Ronald Zaccari, the university’s president, wrote that he “present[ed] a clear and present danger to this campus” and referred to the “attached threatening document,” a printout of an image from an album on Barnes’s Facebook profile. The collage featured a picture of a parking garage, a photo of Zaccari, a bulldozer, the words “No Blood for Oil” and the title “S.A.V.E.-Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage,” a reference to a campus environmental group and Barnes’s contention that the president sought to make the structures part of his legacy at the university.

4 Responses to “Academic Horror Story (Podesta State)”

  1. Peter Says:

    i don’t understand why it’s being published just now. the article seems to let us know that Barnes did actually have a personal/private psychologist – was that knowledge the university was allowed to divulge?

    it’s obviously a trashing operation run by the President, Ronald Zaccari. I’ll drop a call in there on Monday, for sure.

    and it reminds me that I should do something to get myself and all alumni of my schools organized for when something like this happens. uh-oh – a new website – here it comes….

  2. Peter Says:

    well, i left a voice mail and sent an email. that should start things nicely.

  3. Peter Says:

    I did a little more research on that FIRE institute – I was alerted when I saw that Cato was involved (Cato being a libertarian right-wing think tank).

    It appears that FIRE is, indeed, a right-wing hack group:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_for_Individual_Rights_in_Education#FIRE.27s_political_orientation

    They’re using this case to try and up their street cred. It’s why you won’t find any mention of their funding sources on their website. It’s a good cause – defending this kid – but it’s shameful that FIRE is using the case in a cynical fashion. But would you expect anything else from a right-wing hack group?

    They’re part of that whole David “I used to be a left-wing Marxist” Horowitz’s campaign to intimidate professors into teaching ‘state capitalism for the rich’.

  4. Stephen M (Ethesis) Says:

    FIRE is more than that (and less).

    They aren’t hacks, but they are ideologically driven, much like the ACLU, and sometimes the drive takes them strange places.