If you’re one of the many folks upset about Connecticut’s new gun laws, that state’s governor has a message for you: Shut Up.
“…student Nicholas Saucier tried to get (Democratic Governor Dannel ) Malloy to answer questions about his support for gun control legislation, which has put Saucier’s ammunition manufacturing business in jeopardy. Saucier followed Malloy to his car after the governor finished speaking at a public forum at Asnuntuck Community College.
The exchange took place in October of last year, and was captured on video…”
Sounds relatively harmless so far, right?
Now here’s the video:
First of all, it’s a fact that Connecticut’s newest gun laws are incredibly onerous, so it’s not surprising that Nicholas Saucier is upset about the viability of his ammo manufacturing business. However, if this young man had actually harassed and/or threatened Governor Malloy, is there any chance that he wouldn’t simply have been arrested on the spot?
And yet, that’s exactly what the governor alleged:
(via TheFire.org) – “…Based on this conversation, ACC suspended Saucier and charged him with violations of its Policy on Student Conduct, including harassment, threats, and failure to “[d]emonstrate good citizenship by not engaging in conduct prohibited by federal, state, or other laws.” Saucier chose to defend himself in a formal hearing, rather than agree to an informal resolution requiring him to plead guilty to all charges, withdraw, and submit to a mandatory professional evaluation for readmission.
At his November 18 hearing, ACC gave itself discretion to “decide what information is appropriate” for consideration, then refused to review Saucier’s videos showing his speech to be protected by the First Amendment. It also prohibited any recording of the hearing, depriving Saucier of a fundamental safeguard colleges routinely afford students.
These unwritten abridgements to ACC’s written procedures severely impaired Saucier’s ability to defend himself.
ACC found Saucier guilty of all charges. It lifted Saucier’s suspension but placed him on probation with the condition that any future conduct violations “will likely result in Suspension or Expulsion from the College.” In a letter sent January 13, FIRE called on ACC to reverse its severe violations of Saucier’s free speech and due process rights.
The college has failed to respond…”
This whole situation is beyond ridiculous. There’s certainly nothing on the video which shows that the student was guilty of what was alleged, other than asking an elected official questions about gun-&-ammo legislation. Furthermore, the fact that:
- the school refused to allow Saucier to record the hearing,
- they refused to review his video, and most tellingly of all, they
- then “lifted” their suspension, which certainly makes it appear they were simply trying to save face here, both for the school and for Governor Malloy.
If actual harassment or threats had occurred, it stretches credulity to think that Saucier’s suspension would’ve been lifted. This smacks of pure intimidation, especially with the caveat that any future conduct violations would “likely result in Suspension or Expulsion”.
In other words: shut your mouth, kid, and we’ll let you stay in school. You’re welcome.
Easy question: if Mr. Saucier had belonged to one of any combination of “approved” groups (black, Hispanic, female, gay, Muslim, etc.,) is there any doubt that both the college and the governor would have handled this …”differently”? But instead, Nicholas was a white male and, even worse, a 2nd Amendment proponent.
Sorry, dude: you’re no longer eligible for “rights” these days.
Peter Bonilla, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, summed-up this entire debacle:
“…This case stands as a startling example of what can happen when disrespect for student First Amendment rights is combined with disregard for student due process rights…”
So thanks so much, Governor Malloy: you certainly have demonstrated to your constituents how much you appreciate hearing from them!
And thanks also to Asnuntuck Community College: you’re giving quite an education to your student body, although you might not be teaching them quite what you’d intended.