A California conservative at Fresno State University is suing his school after allegedly being put on disciplinary probation because of his politics.
The school’s leadership – particularly University President John Welty – is reportedly outspoken in its support for liberal policies like the DREAM Act. The school’s newspaper took things so far last May that they published a poem that begins: “America, the land robbed by the white savage.”
Neil O’Brien is active in student government, and has made no secret about his opposition to the DREAM Act. He decided to ask the professors in the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department – at least one of whom seems to be a faculty advisor for the paper – what they thought of the poem.
Fox News has more on what happened next:
When O’Brien approached the professors separately in their offices, the same thing happened in each case: they said they didn’t want to talk with him. Openly recording the encounters on a video camera, O’Brien told them he just wanted to ask questions. They again told him to leave, and closed their doors.
What happened next is what got O’Brien in trouble: The professors called the police. According to police reports, the professors said that O’Brien had been “threatening” and “harassing” them. Police took O’Brien in for questioning, but decided not to file charges after watching video he took of the incident (which O’Brien has posted online here.)
Though the police chose not to pursue the matter, the school seemingly felt that punishment was still warranted.
Fox News continues:
O’Brien’s troubles continued when he was called into the Dean’s office and told he would face a disciplinary hearing in which he would not be allowed to have a lawyer present.
In the disciplinary hearing, O’Brien says he repeatedly asked his questioners to watch the video of the incident – but they refused, even though he brought a DVD with the footage to the hearing.
University Vice President Paul Oliaro ultimately gave O’Brien disciplinary probation for a semester – which forbade him from serving as the president of a student group he formed (a chapter of Young Americans For Liberty) and banned him from going “within 100 feet of the Chicano Latin American studies faculty or staff or their offices or classrooms in which they are teaching.”
“You can see that even though the video completely exonerates me, I still went through all this hell,” he told FoxNews.com.
In O’Brien’s opinion, the only conclusion is that he is being reprimanded for his politics.
“I can’t think of a reason besides that they just don’t like conservatives, and just don’t like to answer questions on anything,” he remarked.
O’Brien’s lawyer, Brian Leighton, added: “What these professors can’t stand is that Neil shows up to all these university meetings… and he says what he thinks.”
School representatives say they cannot provide details on the case, since it has to do with disciplinary action against a student, but insist that personal politics were unrelated to O’Brien’s punishment.
“Fresno State strongly values and supports the First Amendment rights of all students, faculty, staff and administrators. We encourage individuals to exercise their freedom of speech, provided they do so in an appropriate manner,” the school’s spokeswoman Kathleen Rhodes Schock commented.
Though this is related to politics, it should be noted that a quick Google search reveals O’Neil seemingly had a website called “therealpedro.com” about the “lies, crimes, and possible cover-up” of the school’s president Pedro Ramirez, who was found to be an illegal immigrant in late 2010. The website has not been updated since May.
But O’Brien remains firm: “This school is totally Orwellian… I just want to share my opinion when I disagree, and I shouldn’t be treated like a criminal for it.”
Here is O’Brien’s video – the one that school professors called the police on him for saying he was “threatening” and “harassing” them. Skip to about 13 seconds: