On June 3rd, rising Fordham University senior Austin Tong posted a harmless post on his instagram account, an image of David Dorn, a retired police officer killed by violent looters. Tong captioned the photo, “Y’all a bunch of hypocrites.”

Though Tong supports Black Lives Matter, he believes killing police officers is counterproductive and that people aren’t enough paying attention to this travesty.

The next day was the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. On June 4, 1989, the Chinese government opened fire into a crowd of student protesters campaigning for democracy. Hundreds to thousands of protesters were murdered, with as many as 10,000 arrested. 

Tong commemorated the day with a post of himself holding an AR-15, with the caption “Don’t tread on me. #198964.”

Immediately, Tong received backlash from his classmates at Fordham. 

“To everyone and @fordhamuniversity: this post or my mentality is SOLELY for the memory of the thousands of armless students who had no method of defense and were massacred in 6.4.1989, and in no way advocating violence to anyone,” Tong said. “This post is my appreciation toward the United States and the privilege in this country to have the right to bear arms, to have a populace that can defend itself from tyranny. Tiananmen Incident is a huge deal in my motherland and to my ethnicity, and so is civil rights in America, but this post is solely my belief that freedom comes from a strong and armed populace. Violence against any citizen should not be tolerated, and the Second Amendment protects us from that.”

Fordhamobserver.com reported:

In a letter dated July 14, Keith Eldredge, assistant vice president and dean of students at Lincoln Center, found Tong guilty of violating the university regulations relating to bias and/or hate crime and threatening or intimidating behavior.

Tong has been placed on probation, meaning he is barred from visiting the campus without prior approval, pursuing student leadership roles, or participating in athletics. Tong is also required to write an apology letter and attend “implicit bias” training. 

Let’s get this straight. 

Tong was disciplined for posting a picture with a legally owned gun, off campus, commemorating a government-led massacre. Fordham is punishing a student for expressing political beliefs? Hmmmm… This sounds like something that would happen in China.

Tong responded to the letter from the university.

“I expressed my appreciation of the 2nd Amendment and mourning of the anniversary of a Chinese Democratic movement by posting a picture of my legally purchased rifle in my home, and my sympathetic feeling toward Black Police Officer David Dorn,” Tong said. “The content of both posts are fully by my love for this country, fully within the boundaries of law and university code, and in no way expressing threatening or hateful thoughts – yet the University subjectively and maliciously assumed my intentions as hate crime and threat.”

The university codes, as listed on Fordham’s website prohibits, ‘“threats, intimidation, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.” Tong noted it also prohibits behavior “which prevents or limits the free expression of the ideas of others.”

Tong did not threaten or intimidate anyone. He did the opposite. He stood for free speech, patriotically appreciating the fact massacres like Tiananmen Square do not happen in a country where citizens have the right to bear arms. 

Tong is determined to bring legal action against the university if Fordham upholds their decision without a “just and reasonable answer.” On July 17, he launched a GoFundMe to cover the pricey lawsuit. In 3 days, he has raised just under thirty thousand dollars.

Hat Tip: Fordhamobserver.com, fordham.edu, thefire.org, history.com

Image Credit: Flickr by R Y _ _ _ _

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.