Montclair State University: Student Barred from Campus for Violating Unconstitutional 'Gag Order'
In October 2012, Montclair State University issued a no-contact order to student Joseph Aziz in response to unflattering comments about a student he had posted to a politically charged YouTube video that September. The no-contact order included a gag order prohibiting him from posting "any social media regarding" the other student. After Aziz later posted comments about the matter to a private Facebook group, Montclair State charged him with several conduct violations, including harassment and disruptive conduct, and in December 2012 sanctioned him for failing to comply with its unconstitutional gag order. Aziz was suspended for the spring 2013 semester and barred from campus under penalty of arrest. FIRE wrote to Montclair State President Susan A. Cole on January 4, 2013, pointing out that the gag order and subsequent punishment violated Aziz's First Amendment rights. On January 17, shortly after FIRE publicized the case, Cole lifted the order and reversed Aziz's suspension.
- "Victory: Montclair State Rescinds Suspension of Student for Social Media Comments," January 18, 2013: Montclair State University has rescinded its suspension of student Joseph Aziz for violating an unconstitutional gag order that the university imposed on him after he made comments on social media. University President Susan A. Cole revoked the semester-long suspension in a letter to Aziz yesterday evening, three days after FIRE exposed Montclair State's actions to the public.
- "Letter from Montclair State President Susan Cole to Joseph Aziz, January 17, 2013," January 18, 2013
- "Unconstitutional Gag Order at Montclair State Leads to Student's Suspension," January 14, 2013: Montclair State University has suspended a student for violating an unconstitutional gag order placed on him by school administrators. Joseph Aziz was suspended and barred from campus effective January 2, as the result of unflattering social media comments he made regarding a fellow student on a politically charged YouTube video. Following an unsuccessful appeal, Aziz came to FIRE for help.
- "FIRE Letter to Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole, January 4, 2013," January 4, 2013
- "Appeal Outcome Notification Letter from Montclair State University Vice President Karen L. Pennington to Joseph Aziz, December 18, 2012," December 18, 2012
- "Hearing Outcome Notification Letter from Montclair State University Hearing Officer Kevin Schafer to Joseph Aziz, December 13, 2012," December 13, 2012
- "Second Post to Private Facebook Group by Joseph Aziz, October 15, 2012," October 15, 2012
- "First Posts to Private Facebook Group by Joseph Aziz, October 10, 2012," October 10, 2012
- "No Contact Order from Montclair State University Coordinator of Student Conduct Jerry S. Collins to Joseph Aziz, October 9, 2012," October 9, 2012
- "FIRE’s Peter Bonilla Speaking at Montclair State Tonight," by Azhar Majeed, March 7, 2013
- "'Star-Ledger' Columnist Shreds Montclair State's Treatment of Joseph Aziz," by Azhar Majeed, January 21, 2013
- "Montclair State 'Trolling' Case Garners International Attention," by Nico Perrino, January 18, 2013
- "Montclair State Wrongly Cites Anti-Bullying Law to Justify Student's Suspension," by Samantha Harris, January 17, 2013
- "'Star-Ledger' Reports the Latest at Montclair State University," by Bridget Glackin, January 16, 2013
- "Unconstitutional Gag Order at Montclair State Leads to Student’s Suspension," January 14, 2013
- "GRADUATE STUDENT, FREE SPEECH VINDICATED,"
by Bob Kellogg, OneNewsNow, January 23, 2013
- "P.C. Police run amok at Montclair,"
by Paul Mulshine, The Star-Ledger, January 20, 2013
- "MSU Student's Suspension Revoked,"
by Christina Gillham, Baristanet, January 18, 2013
- "Montclair State overturns suspension for "trolling"; student says he hopes case sets a precedent,"
by Kelly Heyboer, The Star-Ledger, January 18, 2013
- "Montclair State Reverses Student's Suspension Over Online Fat Jokes,"
by Mike D'Onofrio, Montclair Patch, January 18, 2013
- "Montclair State student suspended for online comments is reinstated: report,"
by Ron Zeitlinger, The Jersey Journal, January 18, 2013
- "Student compares woman to meat, gets suspended,"
by Jen Baird, KFVS12, January 18, 2013
- "Student suspended from university for saying classmate's legs looked like 'a pair of bleached hams' on Facebook,"
by Snejana Farberov, The Daily Mail, January 17, 2013
- "Montclair State Student Suspended Over 'Bleached Hams' Comment Speaks Out,"
CBS New York, January 17, 2013
- "Poll: Did Montclair State overreact by suspending a student for comments on social media websites?,"
by Ron Zeitlinger, The Jersey Journal, January 17, 2013
- "Public university suspends student for calling another student's legs 'bleached hams',"
by Eric Owens, The Daily Caller, January 17, 2013
- "Montclair Student Suspended Over Comments On YouTube Video,"
CBS New York, January 16, 2013
- "Student suspended over online insults,"
United Press International, Inc., January 16, 2013
- "Montclair State Student Suspended Over Online Fat Jokes,"
by Mike D'Onofrio, Montclair Patch, January 16, 2013
- "Civil liberty group defends Montclair State student suspended for Facebook, YouTube comments,"
by Kelly Heyboer, The Star-Ledger, January 16, 2013
- "Montclair State University Student Says Gag Order Is Unconstitutional: UPDATED,"
by Staff Editorial, Baristanet, January 15, 2013