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VSU Student Expelled After Speaking Out Against President

By: Sean Lavin Email
By: Sean Lavin Email

Hayden Barnes is passionate about the environment. He says students should rely less on cars so global warming can be stopped.

So when two new parking garages were proposed on VSU's campus, he started speaking out, saying the money for the garages could be better spent elsewhere.

He wrote letters to his campus paper, posted fliers and a picture on Facebook saying so, but was expelled from school after doing it.

"[The expulsion letter] stated I was a clear and present danger to the campus because of these activities." Barnes said.

The Facebook photo suggests the garage be named in VSU President Ronald Zacarri's memory.

"I guess because [Barnes] says memorial, that refers to death often, so I guess [Zacarri] is saying that he thought this guy was going to attack him - but he didn't really attack him he just put some pictures up," said student Aurora Mintz.

Barnes says it wasn't a threat, but a message to show how Zacarri will be remembered by students. Most students agreed.

"I don't see anything threatening about this," said student Andrew Marriage. "He just put a bunch of pictures together."

"I think the president crossed the line with expelling him," added VSU student Ravan Ross.

Barnes says he was given no hearing and expelled without the chance to defend himself, something he finds outrageous when men his age are fighting in Iraq.

"W have certain rights in this country and people are dying for those rights and people have died," Barnes said. "And to be shut out of the system like this and told to be quiet is very disheartening and very frustrating."

We asked President Zacarri to explain his side, but he declined our request to go on camera. He did confirm that this legal battle is ongoing, however.

This battle has made its way all the way to Atlanta where the State Board of Regents asked an administrative law judge to hold a hearing to determine if Barnes' rights were violated.


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