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Higher Ed in the News

Former college president found personally liable for expelling student

September 9, 2010

A federal court in Atlanta ruled last week that Ronald M. Zaccari, a former president of Valdosta State University, may be held personally liable for unilaterally dismissing a student who protested plans to build parking garages on campus in 2007.

Zaccari informed sophomore T. Hayden Barnes, in a May 2007 letter, that he presented a "clear and present danger" and had been administratively withdrawn from Valdosta State.

Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. of the U.S. District Court in Atlant ruled that Zaccari, who discounted the opinions of counselors and fellow administrators that Barnes was not a threat, violated his due-process rights. Courts generally expect public universities to give students some type of notice and afford them a hearing before taking any disciplinary action.

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Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.