A student attending a university in New York City was banned from his Bronx-area campus and could face expulsion- all over online comments, a photo of him posing with an AR-15, and a statement denouncing the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989.
Fordham University Student Austin Tong had come under fire prior to his run-in with the university, namely for criticizing the recent BLM-related protests and rioting that quickly spread across the United States over the summer of 2020.
In his own words, Tong claimed that such acts were hypocritical due to the death of David Dorn, a retired policeman slain by alleged Black Lives Matter protester Stephan Cannon.
“Y’all a bunch of hypocrites,” he wrote.
In an interview with Campus Reform, Tong stated that he didn’t think that his comments were racist at all.
“He was a fine man [Dorn], nobody cared about him because perhaps he didn’t fit their political agenda or criteria,” Tong stated. “He was a fine officer, he was a black man, and he should be cared about but nobody cared. How is that racist?”
On the 31st anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, Tong posted a photo of himself, holding his state-legal Smith & Wesson M&P-15 in the low-ready position.
“Don’t tread on me,” he wrote on June 4th, adding the date of the massacre carried out by Chinese Communist Party troops against pro-democracy protesters. “#198964.”
“That event tells us in America and tells people around the world why people should be armed, why we should be grateful in this country. We have the 2nd Amendment to protect ourselves from the government and keep them in check,” Tong stated.
In short order, the Instagram post was reported to the University, who then put the student on notice- restricting his access to campus and forcing him to only take online courses.
The university claimed that Tong had violated two conduct codes: “Threats/Intimidation” and “Bias and/or Hate Crimes.”
University officials reportedly misidentified the semi-automatic rifle as an “automatic weapon,” the latter being a heavily restricted, espensive and hard-to-obtain item due to federal laws passed in the 1930s, 1960s and 1980s, respectively.
In order for the senior to be able to graduate, Tong was ordered to undergo training related to “implicit bias,” write a letter of apology and report to the Assistant Vice President of the school’s Office of Multicultural Affairs by July 23.
Tong was surprised by the action, and felt it to be rather unconstitutional.
“This is America, I didn’t expect any of this to happen,” he said. “I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t break the law.”
According to Asian Dawn, Tong responded to the university, claiming that he was told he would be off the hook if he removed his post. When he did so and still found himself seemingly being made an example of, he decided to put the post back up.
“I am no longer permitted on campus, with public safety coming to my home at midnight to question me on the day of my post,” he wrote. “[I] face political reeducation through mandatory courses and [have] to write an apology letter, or [I] will face full suspension or expulsion- is this happening in America, or is this a Soviet nightmare.”
Since the incident, Tong has promised legal action against Fordham University should they refuse to reverse course, and is willing to take the matter as high as the Supreme Court.
“This is not the time to retreat in the dread of fear,” the business school senior wrote to the university. “This is the tie to fight in the name of democracy.”
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