Long Island University Post Junior Anand Venigalla was recently forced into a mandatory meeting with his school after he posted some photos and videos on Facebook of himself legally holding unloaded guns at an off-campus Cabela event.
According to the FIRE report, a classmate of Venigalla’s allegedly told the administration that he may have “might have violent intentions” because he participated in the event. After the complaint, the school administration contacted Venigalla to inform him that they were to have a mandatory meeting as soon as possible to discuss the incident.
During the meeting, not only did they question Venigalla about him legally shooting guns at an off-campus event, but they even questioned a paper he wrote in 2017 citing the Boston Tea Party as a necessary use of power against an authoritative government. They also dug up a Facebook post of Venigalla’s where he mentioned that he was disappointed that he lost an election and saying that the Greek life needing to disperse because they held too much political influence. They said it wasn’t an investigation, just a mandatory meeting in which they provided evidence to insinuate that Venigalla shooting guns legally, off-campus draws a line to potential violence.
When contacted by Lone Conservative, Venigalla said the meeting was “ridiculous.” “I can see the theory behind it [school shootings, perceptions of violence, etc.], but I disagree with it,” he said. Venigalla then went on to say that he, as a libertarian, understands that it was LIU’s “right” to do this as a private institution, but that he stills feels it was wrong because it “instilled fear” in him, “showed their initial suspicions” of him, and was an “affront of sorts” to his honor.
While Venigalla said that this situation has made him feel a little more careful, he also said that it has strengthened him to speak out. He said he feels more outspoken from this happening and fighting through the battle with the FIRE organization. He said that he hasn’t been “cowed or discouraged” much at all by this event, it’s even empowered him to start speaking out against other situations, like a merger in all LIU’s athletic facilities – OneLIU.
While FIRE has acknowledged that LIU is a private institution, they’ve also said that they could still be breaking promises that they’ve made to uphold these rights. According to a letter sent to LIU by FIRE, LIU’s “demand that Venigalla come to campus – during his summer break – for an investigatory meeting is a departure from the university’s commitment to freedom of expression.” Furthermore, they say, “investigations into non-threatening social media posts and academic work are themselves chilling and contrary to LIU Post’s commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression and must be addressed.”
LIU did not respond to Lone Conservative’s request for comment.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.