Expelled Michigan Tech Student Awarded $42K in Settlement

The man was expelled after a former student shared part of his presumably threatening social media post with the school’s president and police chief.

Expelled Michigan Tech Student Awarded $42K in Settlement

As part of the settlement, the former student's disciplinary record has been cleared.

A former Michigan Technological University student was awarded $42,000 in a settlement with the school after he was expelled for a seemingly threatening social media post back in 2015.

The settlement was originally agreed upon on June 13 but was awaiting final approval from U.S District Judge Gordon Quist, reports MLive.com.

On November 12, 2015, Matthew Schultz posted on the social media app, Yik Yak, saying, “Gonna shoot all black people…….A smile tomorrow,” followed by a smiley face emoji.

It was flagged five minutes after being posted and was removed from the site.

Michigan Tech graduate Ryan Grainger shared a screenshot of the post with the school’s vice president, Les Cook, and the school’s deputy police chief, Brian Caldwell.

The screenshot Grainger shared, however, only showed a portion of the social media post. Schultz’ post was in a response to another post, which read, “@LesPCook your students behave like this. Given what #Mizzou went through how will the school respond? @michigantech”.

Schultz says he sent the entire post to the school but they ignored it, according to the Daily Caller.

He was subsequently expelled and arrested for domestic terror, a felony that carries a 20-year-sentence. The charge was dropped disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor, but was eventually dismissed completely.

“Michigan Tech believes its actions in response were justified in light of its knowledge at the time, its interests in keeping its campus safe, and its obligations under federal law. A non-student’s role, including alteration of Schultz’s original post, worsened the situation,” said Jennifer Donovan, director of news and media relations for Michigan Tech.

The lawsuit accused university officials of failing to reveal the second version of the post they received from Schultz. It also alleged that the school helped organize a protest intended to pressure local prosecutors into punishing Schultz more severely.

The case drew national attention in 2016 when Vice President Mike Pence alleged that the school used Schultz as a “poster boy for white hatred” and had “knowingly perpetuated the myth that Matthew had written the altered post, in order to serve MTU’s own political purpose.”

Schultz argued that his post was not intended as a threat of violence and was protected speech under the First Amendment.

As part of the settlement, Schultz’s disciplinary record was cleared, but he will not return to the school.

“The parties now agree that Matthew did not intend any physical harm,” said Donovan. “The parties agree that Matthew’s dreams of a successful career in mechanical engineering should not be compromised and are encouraged.”

Schultz must pay his own legal fees from the lawsuit.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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