A university student says his college placed him on probation over his Instagram posts because they reportedly violated university policy, according to Campus Reform.
What are the details?
Fordham University senior Austin Tong said the Instagram posts in question featured former black Police Capt. David Dorn. Dorn, 77, was killed in St. Louis during the nationwide riots spurred on by the police-involved killing of George Floyd.
He simply captioned the photo of Dorn, "Y'all a bunch of hypocrites."
Tong told Campus Reform that he shared the post about Dorn in an attempt to express "disappointment in people that did not care about the death of black policeman."
The second post was even more innocuous — the student smiling and standing with a rifle pointed at the ground.
He captioned the photo, "Don't tread on me. #198964." The hashtag is the date of the Tiananmen Square incident, which took place on June 4, 1989 in Beijing.
He told Campus Reform that his aim with the post was to honor the memory of the Chinese Democracy Movement as well as show appreciation for the right to bear arms in the United States.
"As an immigrant, a big beauty of America to me is the right it gives its citizens to bear arms, not only to protect themselves, but also to keep the government in check," he explained.
"I hope to use my punishment as a milestone and reflection of the constitutional crisis we are facing today as a society," Tong added.
What did the school say?
Tong received a letter from Fordham University Dean of Students Keith Eldredge about the posts, which claimed Tong violated the school's "regulations relating to bias and/or hate crimes," as well as those on "threats/intimidation."
Tong is now on disciplinary probation, which will remain in effect until graduation.
His probation includes a ban on him being able to run for leadership roles within student organizations or any participation in varsity or club sports. Tong says he also needs to request access to the campus through the dean, and is required to finish the rest of his courses in a virtual capacity. In addition to undergoing bias training, Tong must also reportedly write an apology for the posts.
Tong told Campus Reform that the school subjected him to "Soviet-style interrogation and punishment" while operating under the guise of protecting free speech.
"America is under attack," he said. "Americans are being silenced. I hope to use my punishment as a milestone and reflection of the constitutional crisis we are facing today as a society. Coming to this country as an immigrant, one would think that America is a nation of law and free speech. Yet that is no longer the case ... Not simply did Fordham University break its promise and punish me, but it signaled to students nationwide that free speech is a political trap that will destroy you."
The college senior responded to the school about his probation to explain his position.
"I believe that Black Lives Matter means that all Black Lives Matter, including the lost life of a patriotic police officer that dedicated his life to his family and country," he wrote. "This post was not only expressive of my remorse that a police officer's life was lost, but also to reaffirm my belief that the lives of everyone matter."
He shared a copy of the letter to his Instagram account, which he added that he "will be taking legal action against @fordhamuniversity, if not given a fair and just answer."