Purdue has expelled undergraduate student Maxwell Lawrence over racist messages he shared on social media last week.
"Today (June 23) Purdue University President Mitch Daniels announced the immediate expulsion of undergraduate student Maxwell Lawrence," Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty said in an email Tuesday evening. "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 original incidents include Lawrence posting a video on TikTok referencing running over protesters and sharing racist messages in a group chat.
The Exponent first reported on his actions Friday, and at the time Purdue announced it would not take action against the student because of its freedom of expression policy.
"I AM SPEECHLESS," Hunter Spalding, the student who initially reported the incident to Purdue police and identified Lawrence in the group chat by his username, said in a text on Tuesday.
The Exponent has reached out to Lawrence again for comment Tuesday evening.
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.”
(1/3) Today #PurdueUniversity President Mitch Daniels announced the immediate expulsion of undergraduate student Maxwell Lawrence.— Purdue University (@LifeAtPurdue) June 23, 2020