I've been reading up on the case of Henry Liu, a student at Portland State University who was expelled last year after allegedly making a violent threats against a faculty member. Liu was questioned by authorities, cuffed, placed under psychiatric evaluation for several days and banned from campus.
But Liu, a graduate student in the conflict resolution program, was never charged with a crime. He was given a clean bill of mental health and has no history of violence. But he was thrown out of school, incurred significant legal bills, and had his name dragged through the mud. A flyer with Liu's photo, identifying him as a possible campus threat, was posted all over the school and still continues to circulate on the internet.
All this was based on the accusation of one fellow student. In the post-Virginia Tech era, was Henry Liu falsely profiled as a "crazy Asian shooter"? Was Portland State right in expelling student as safety risk?
Henry Liu was a promising graduate student in Portland State University's conflict resolution program. He had excellent grades, with law school on the horizon. But his academic career swiftly derailed last spring after he confided to a classmate that he was upset with a faculty member and mentioned guns in the same conversation.You can't blame school officials for taking any threats of violence seriously. You want to know that authorities did everything they could do, with the proper information, to prevent something terrible from happening. And frankly, in this specific situation, someone owning multiple firearms and a bunch of survival gear was worth at least a second glance, which he certainly got. But in the end, he was cleared.
Liu's classmate told campus police that her friend felt a lot of hatred and said of one assistant professor, "He could get shot." Liu, a gun enthusiast, denies making any such threat and says he never intended to harm anyone. Yet Portland State officials took swift and decisive action.
Less than 24 hours after Liu spoke to his classmate, campus police put him in handcuffs and he landed in a psychiatric ward. PSU officials barred him from school property and put out a public flier with his photo that included this line: "If you see Mr. Liu on campus, or if you have any significant concerns about your immediate personal safety, please notify law enforcement officials by calling 911." Last month, PSU expelled him.
After that, the entire situation seems terribly mishandled by the university, and it doesn't sound like Liu got a fair shake at all. Can you really ruin someone's life and career based on the word of one person? More here: Henry Liu: Arrested, Locked in a Mental Ward, Discredited - On the Word of One Accuser.
Over a year later, Liu is still dealing with the fallout from his expulsion. He has set up a legal defense fund to pay for ongoing costs in the matter. For further information, go here.