A student is reportedly preparing to sue Fordham University after the school demanded an apology for an Instagram post showing him holding an AR-15 in solidarity with the Tiananmen Square protesters.
Austin Tong, a Chinese immigrant, has been barred from the university campus and is required to undergo mandatory “implicit bias” training, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Administrators also demanded the student write a letter of apology as a consequence of his June 4 Instagram post, according to a disciplinary letter.
Tong held an AR-15 with the caption “Don’t tread on me #198964” — a reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, in which communist Chinese authorities killed and arrested thousands of pro-democracy protesters.
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A refusal to apologize could mean expulsion from the New York college, according to the letter. Tong is instead preparing to sue the university, according to The Beacon.
“For a mere $50,000 a year in tuition, Fordham has smeared our client’s reputation and permanently damaged his career prospects,” Tong’s lawyer, Brett Josphe, told the Free Beacon.
“This behavior by the school and its officials shocks the conscience and there should be a heavy price to pay.”
Tong told the Free Beacon: “I will not apologize. I did nothing wrong and they did everything wrong. [Fordham is] a total disgrace.”
“I don’t think I’ll even be able to finish college,” he continued. “This is a total bet on my part, but we’ll see what happens.”
University officials showed up on Tong’s doorstep around 10 p.m. on the day of the post to inform him of his conduct violation, according to The Beacon.
The university accused him of a hate crime and “threats/intimidation,” according to the letter.
The National Rifle Association has voiced support for Tong.
This is @realAustinTong. He was charged with a hate crime by his school, @FordhamNYC, for posting a photo of his new AR-15.@FordhamNYC accused him of owning an “automatic weapon” and they’re trying to silence him, but this @NRA member is not backing down.
This is his message. pic.twitter.com/s673Ld1HP6
— NRA (@NRA) July 21, 2020
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