Campus Reform | Student who says he was BANNED FROM CAMPUS after questioning microaggressions is suing in federal court

Student who says he was BANNED FROM CAMPUS after questioning microaggressions is suing in federal court

A federal judge advanced a lawsuit from a former University of Virginia student who was booted from campus for pushing back against the idea of “microaggressions.”

The judge wrote that the student has “a plausible claim for First Amendment retaliation.”

A federal judge has decided that a lawsuit from a former University of Virginia School of Medicine student will be allowed to proceed on the grounds that his First Amendment rights may have been violated. Judge Norman K. Moon, a Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, wrote that ex-student Kieran Bhattacharya could seek relief "for retaliation in violation of his First Amendment right of free speech" allegedly committed by University of Virginia officials.

The plaintiff, Kieran Bhattacharya, claims in the lawsuit that he was suspended from school and banned from campus after he asked questions at a panel discussion about microaggressions. Bhattacharya's lawsuit says he asked the speaker if one must be part of a marginalized group in order to receive a microaggression, how she would define a marginalized group, and if she had evidence beyond the anecdotes she had shared at the event. 

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From there, one faculty member filed a "Professionalism Concern Card" against Bhattacharya. The Assistant Dean for Medical Education emailed Bhattacharya asking to speak with him about his concerns regarding the event.  Bhattacharya accepted the meeting, saying: 

The meeting, according to the plaintiff, was less a discussion of the issue presented at the panel but instead an interrogation of his personal political beliefs. University leadership then tried to force him to receive a psychiatric evaluation, which he turned down. Next, a faculty committee voted to suspend him from school - and later, issued a "No Trespass" order that banned him from campus. 

Nicole Neily, President of Speech First, told Campus Reform that she was disappointed to see the University of Virginia, "which has received a grene light ranking from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education," claiming that "offensive speech does not enjoy First Amendment protection, so schools may regulate it in order to protect their educational mission."

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“This statement is breathtaking in its inaccuracy, something that should concern not only UVA students but all other students at public universities in Virginia where the Attorney General's office is tasked with correctly interpreting the Constitution,” she added.

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Virginia for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft