Barry University Stomps on First Amendment

April 8, 2008 by David S. Seltzer

So when did we lose the right to freedom of speech? The law doesn't allow private institutions to thwart the law, so why does Barry University think they have the right to bully around two young students? Kids will be kids, and I am the first one to state that all parties may not have clean hands in this situation, but as far as Barry University is concerned, while on SCHOOL PROPERTY, my clients did nothing wrong.

If you haven't already heard, Barry University has initiated expulsion proceedings against two students, both of which have 3.0+ grades, and one of whom is a student leader. Both students have aspirations of higher education and distinguished professional careers. Now the only thing that stands in their way is private politics.

A video of the incident which occurred on Barry University's campus April 4, 2008, was posted on YouTube. What the video shows, is a loud discussion among some students that drew a crowd. My client, the budding camera man decided to film the altercation and include his own play-by-play commentary. My other client was involved in the debate, but as the video clearly shows, she WAS NOT the aggressor, rather the victim when she was sucker punched by another female. Present during this altercation was the resident adviser as well as numerous campus security. Kudos to the student RA, who was the only one from the school who attempted to stop the incident.

50 States security, one of Barry University's rent-a-guard patrols, is seen on video and asked if he was going to stop this incident, to which there was no response. Also, in violation of school policy, the security guards hired to protect the students failed to file incident reports.

Some great filming if you ask me. Lots of different camera angles, shots of the crowd, the interested parties, the school officials. Barry has taken the position at this time that only my two clients, and the girl who threw the punches are being expelled. Of course that position changed once Fox News Miami got involved. The University was planning on identifying every student who stood idly by and watched the altercation and expelled them in accordance with some obscure school policy. But of course, as the media got involved they backed off that course of action.

So what makes my clients any different, why are they being railroaded here? In an attempt to resolve this matter today, I contacted both the Dean of Students Office and the Legal Department. End result nothing was done. When asked if I can attend a meeting with my clients earlier today, answer no, the public is not allowed to attend hearings and meetings. Ok, so my clients then met with Jeff Edwards of the University who asked them to sign a document admitting the charges against them. Why would they sign a document admitting something that didn't happen, just to allow the school to expel them...Barry clearly has shown no interest in doing what is best for their students, rather, they are simply concerned with their image. My clients didn't break any laws. My clients are the victims here.

Here we have two students from out of state, with no money and no place to sleep. The University has informed them that if they return to their dorm rooms, which they are continuing to pay for, or to the cafeteria, to eat meals they are continuing to pay for, then they will be arrested for trespassing and charged criminally. So now I have to clients, which I will gladly continue to feed and make sure that they have housing, but what is Barry doing to protect these young students who they have made homeless? Are they going to give them back their money, voluntarily? Of course not, but then again that is why we have courts.

Below is the piece that aired on WSVN 7 Miami today. I am working of putting the entire video up, so check back soon so you can be the judge as to what is really going on here. This is a travesty of justice and the University is trying to sweep it under the rug. Well, I won't let them.