St. Louis Community College at Meramec has lifted hazing and disorderly-conduct charges against a student who disrupted classes and invited his classmates to join him in enrolling at another institution, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced today.
That group and the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri had backed the student, Jun Xiao, whose free-speech and due-process rights they said the college had violated. Mr. Xiao and the college reached an agreement before he took legal action.
In publicizing the case, the group, known as FIRE, emphasized two e-mail messages Mr. Xiao sent in October to his classmates in Organic Chemistry I. The messages informed them that he was withdrawing from the course and invited them to take Organic Chemistry II with him at the nearby St. Charles Community College, another public institution.
Three days after Mr. Xiao sent the second message, the St. Louis college placed him on disciplinary probation, which barred him from contacting other students through institutional e-mail but allowed him to remain in his courses — as long as he refrained from further misconduct.
The initial letter from the college does not spell out Mr. Xiao’s offenses, saying only that the probation is “based upon information provided by a dean, a faculty member, and multiple e-mails from students.” But a second letter, in January, says Mr. Xiao repeatedly delayed class with inappropriate questions and verbally abused a secretary in the chemistry department. —Sara Lipka