Two students at the University of Connecticut who were arrested and charged last year after yelling racial slurs outside of Charter Oak apartments have sued the university for violating their First Amendment rights.
Ryan Mucaj and Jarred Karal filed their lawsuit Tuesday morning in federal court, the Hartford Courant reported, and allege the university is seeking to remove them from university housing for violating the “disruptive behavior” section of the student code of conduct.
The lawsuit calls the disruptive behavior policy a “de facto prior restraint,” and alleges university officials can deem what falls as impermissible.
“The Disruptive Behavior policy is unconstitutionally overbroad, unlawfully restricting speech,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit also cites a 1990 case where UConn agreed not to “enforce any policy that interferes with the exercise of First Amendment rights when the exercise of such right is unaccompanied by violence or the imminent threat of violence.”
University spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the university does not comment on pending litigation.
Mucaj and Karal were arrested in mid-October and charged under Connecticut General Statute 53-37, which is ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race, The Daily Campus reported.
Last week Karal was put on probation for six months with 20 hours of community service and diversity and bias training, according to the Hartford Courant. His application for accelerated rehabilitation was accepted by Judge James Sicilian, who found that his offense was not of a serious nature and he was unlikely to offend again.
Mucaj’s case is still pending in Superior Court in Rockville.
Ashley Anglisano is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.