WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.–An undergraduate student at Purdue University was expelled Tuesday for making what the University called “racist and despicable” statements on social media.
In a video posted on TikTok by undergraduate student Maxwell Lawrence, he pretends to drive through a crowd of protesters with the caption, “Driving to your fishing spot and the protesters try blocking the road.”
In a statement, Purdue President Mitch Daniels calls the post “racist and despicable,” adding that “repeated statements posted on social media by Lawrence appear plainly intended to incite others and therefore create a risk of public safety issues in the current environment.”
Some university representatives said the student’s statements were protected under the First Amendment, but Daniels says the Purdue catalog allows the president to expel students if their presence poses a threat to the safety or well-being of the university community.
Other students have claimed that Lawrence sent messages where he used racial slurs.
Below is the full statement from Purdue University:
Today (June 23) Purdue University President Mitch Daniels announced the immediate expulsion of undergraduate student Maxwell Lawrence. The president determined that, in addition to being racist and despicable, repeated statements posted on social media by Lawrence appear plainly intended to incite others and therefore create a risk of public safety issues in the current environment. While some University officials had concluded the statements were protected speech under the First Amendment and University policy, President Daniels decided instead to take this summary action, calling Lawrence’s conduct completely and utterly unacceptable by a member of the Purdue community and cited the danger Lawrence poses to public safety.
The Purdue University Catalog states:
Summary action by way of an immediate disciplinary suspension and exclusion from University property may be imposed when the student’s continued presence poses a threat to (i) the safety, security, or well-being of members or guests of the University community, (ii) University property, or (iii) the ability of the University to maintain normal operations and carry on its programs, services and activities free of disruption… Summary action may be taken by the Dean of Students, the VPSL, the EVPAA/Provost, or the President.