Univ. suspends concealed carry student. Was Sixth Amend. violated?

A Texas law student got suspended after an anonymous allegation filed against him stated that he threatened to shoot a professor if he were to receive a bad grade on a final exam.

The University of North Texas at Dallas School of Law suspended first-year law student Brandon Masin, as detailed in an email, a copy of which the student provided Campus Reform. The school told Masin he was receiving the email “because [his] conduct has posed a significant threat to the health, safety, and well-being of the University community” and further stated that he would not be allowed to attend class until the situation is resolved. As a result of this suspension, Masin has not been allowed to attend classes since Nov. 20 and will not be permitted to take his first-year law school finals. 

Masin told Campus Reform that he is currently drafting an emergency restraining order against the school. 

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According to the student handbook, UNT Dallas students have “the right to fair and equitable process in all matters concerning the Code.” The handbook further provides students who are charged with code violations the right to “ask questions of any statements or witnesses presented.” However, Masin said the school has not told him who made the allegations against him or when the alleged threat occurred. 

Additionally, UNT Dallas’ actions seem to have violated the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

”I have literally nothing to go off of besides what I’ve gleaned from myself, which in itself might be incorrect,” Masin said during a meeting with the Campus Assessment, Response & Evaluation (CARE) team, which “provide[s] early intervention for various members of the campus community through the constant assessment of referrals, coordination of responsive services and by educating the campus community to ensure a positive and vibrant educational environment for all.”

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”If you were to tell me who made the accusation and when, I could tell you who else was there and who could corroborate,” Masin said. “The student handbook says I can bring in witnesses, but I can’t even do that because witnesses to what?”

During the meeting, UNT officials asked Masin whether he had any weapons and could be a perceived threat to the school and his classmates. In the audio of the meeting that Campus Reform obtained, UNT Dallas Chief of Police Christopher Shaw raised doubts about Masin’s denial of the threat. 

“From my experience and knowledge, people just don’t say that people made terroristic threats out of nowhere,” he said of the anonymous complainants. “It has to come or stem from something, so you have to help us out here.”

Later in the audio, UNT Dallas Counselor Shanda Riley continued to raise doubts about the denial from Masin. 

“I do have to agree with Chief Shaw. This type of thing is not something that someone would just come out of the blue or nowhere and make up,’ she said. “It’s just really hard for me to grasp that more than one person would be saying the same or similar and feeling threatened by [Masin].”

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Riley and Shaw asked Masin if he owned a firearm, to which Masin said that he “absolutely” carries his gun on campus and that there are several other people who conceal carry in his class. He continued to explain his gun usage to them, saying that his classmates are aware that he carries. 

Texas state law allows for individuals in possession of concealed carry permits to arm themselves on college campuses. 

Masin said he appealed his suspension but to no avail. 

The student told Campus Reform that he “got a separate email from the Dean of Students essentially saying all of my demands in the appeal are being denied and rejected besides the fact that a hearing will be taking place and I get to have an advisor.”

UNT Dallas Law School declined to provide further details regarding the incidents, except to say that, “per federal law, as it relates to student privacy, we are not authorized to comment on matters of student conduct.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Bmac0507