Florida Atlantic University has found a new way to soil itself and to once again prove that it will not give up in its perpetual quest to be the worst place in America to go to college.
This time, school officials at the public, taxpayer-funded university summoned Dylan Bouscher, the editor-in-chief of FAU’s University Press student newspaper, on disciplinary charges for having the audacity to practice routine journalism.
The charges were related to Bouscher’s alleged refusal to obey a police order to leave a crime scene.
Bouscher and another unnamed student had driven the newspaper’s golf cart to the site of a suicide on FAU’s Boca Raton campus in August. He wanted to get information and take pictures. He said he remained well away from the area where there were indications of official police business.
At some point, a police officer, Robert Vickens, told him to leave. In a police report concerning the incident, Vickens stated that he ran off Bouscher and his colleague because they were “within the boundaries of the crime scene.”
“Vickens yelled my name,” he told The Daily Caller. “‘Dylan, you need to go away right now,’ he said. So I left.”
“I don’t believe I was near a crime scene or on a crime scene,” Bouscher later told the Student Press Law Center.
Bouscher then sought out another angle to view the police investigation. He settled on a public walkway “about four hundred feet away.” But that location wasn’t good enough, either. Another cop shooed him off. After some harsh words with the second cop, Bouscher left.
The result of this exchange was the four disciplinary charges including a charge of noncompliance.
Bouscher called the noncompliance charge in particular “absurd” and “completely fabricated.”
At a subsequent hearing, he said, the presiding dean threatened him “with more punishment” if he failed to cooperate by naming the student who went with him to the suicide scene.
He didn’t name the student.
In September, Bouscher acquiesced to two charges in order to have another two dismissed. He said he was worried that the charges could escalate into a criminal matter. He also wanted to protect the University Press from further administrative hassles.
“I accepted the charges because it just wasn’t worth it,” Bouscher told TheDC. “That wasn’t the hill I was going to die on, but I do believe my rights were violated.”
The dean’s kangaroo court slapped Bouscher with a year of probation. He has to perform 25 hours of community service. He also has to take something called an ethical decision-making class, which will cost him $100.
He said that he “wouldn’t do a thing differently” because, he argued, “police should have to tell students what’s happening on campus.”
“They just don’t like us asking questions,” he added. “It’s not the first time this has happened to an FAU reporter.”