Campus Free Speech

University Accused of Retaliating Against Students Involved in Protests

Very petty


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida today defended several Florida Atlantic University (FAU) students who are facing what appear to be retaliatory proceedings for their participation in a peaceful protest against the now-cancelled deal to name the university's football stadium for GEO Group, a private prison operator with a history of human rights abuses. The seven students, investigated in response to allegations made by an unnamed complainant of possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct, include a student who alleges she was struck by FAU President Saunders's car as she was leaving the site of the protest, and the six other students who voluntarily submitted sworn witness statements to the FAU police department (FAUPD) at the scene of the incident.

On March 22nd, a group of students organized a peaceful demonstration at FAU's Jupiter campus as FAU president Mary Jane Saunders was leaving a meeting. The students were holding signs requesting a meeting with President Saunders about the stadium deal which student protestors had nicknamed "Owlcatraz." According to a police report, the mirror of President Saunders's car struck a student as she was driving away from the site of the protest. The student struck by President Saunders' car filed a police report alleging that although the collision caused only minor injuries, the President nevertheless drove away without stopping to render aid. Six other students participating in the demonstration submitted sworn witness statements similarly describing the events of the day.