A student at Purdue University, a publicly-funded institution, has received a summons from the university Director of Student Assistance, Leadership, and Conduct. Joshua Nash, who is studying biology and has been described as a “gay conservative,” received a letter that referred to a Facebook posting he made earlier this year that was critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
On his Facebook page, Nash wrote: “Black Lives Matter is trash because they do not really care about black lives. They simply care about making money and disrupting events for dead people.” The comment was reported and later removed. Also, his Facebook account was suspended for one month.
The summons from the university said, “I have received a report from a community member regarding alleged comments that you made on Facebook. I have scheduled a required Administrative Meeting so that I can get more detailed information.” It was signed by Andrew Pettee, the director of Student Assistance.
Nash told the Heat Street website that “attempting to silence students with subjective controversial opinions is completely and utterly absurd, and a direct attack on free speech.” In addition, nash has received online death threats. He tied the threats to the government and academic institutions.
“I think the government and public universities are indirectly responsible for the death threats I’ve been receiving,” Nash said. “People, especially students, have been led to believe it is illegal for someone to speak out against them with words that can be seen as ‘harmful.’ … These students are so adamant about protecting their rights, protecting their feelings, that they don’t realize what they’re doing … threatening to literally kill someone.”
One of the threats Nash received said, “dirt racist conservative scumbbag [sic],” and promised “if i ever see u on campus i am going to cut u till i see blood.” Nash reported these comments to Facebook, Purdue, and the police.
According to The College Fix, the university says that Purdue has “never suggested, let alone threatened, the idea of disciplining the student in question for exercising his right to freedom of expression.”
“When, as here, an administrative meeting is called with a student on our Calumet campus, the purpose is to explore possible ways to support or establish a dialogue with that student, not to discipline him or her. The idea is to see if there might be a teachable moment opportunity for the student, not to treat it as a conduct matter. Protecting free speech is of central importance to our university,” the spokesperson added.
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