Former UVA med school student can proceed with First Amendment lawsuit, federal judge rules

Kieran Bhattacharya, a former University of Virginia medical student whose future career was put at stake in 2018 after being punished for questioning the validity of “microaggressions” as they apply in medicine, at a panel discussion on the topic, scored a victory last week thanks to a federal judge.

According to Breitbart, U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon, of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, ruled Bhattacharya will be able to proceed with a lawsuit against the university for what he alleges was a violation of his First Amendment rights. 

What happened?

In 2018, when Bhattacharya was a second-year medical student, he attended an academic panel discussion on “microaggressions” and when it was time for the question-and-answer session of the panel, the young medical student engaged with the panel and asked important questions in order to clarify the definition of microaggressions.

The inquiring student asked how it was possible the “person who is receiving the microaggressions somehow knows the intention of the person who made it.” He followed up by reminding the panel that “a microaggression is entirely dependent on how the person who’s receiving it is reacting.”

Bhattacharya went on to ask the panel if it’s a “requirement … that you are a member of a marginalized group … to be a victim of a microaggression,” among other questions that apparently triggered a number of panel members, which isn’t surprising given that these days, university leaders aren’t used to free-thinking, intelligent students who aren’t afraid to challenge woke, progressive culture.

As it would turn out, his legitimate questions triggered an unfortunate series of events that would eventually lead to a quick end to his medical school career at UVA.

“[T]hey issued a Professionalism Concern Card against him, suspended him from UVA Medical School, required him to undergo counseling and obtain ‘medical clearance’ as a prerequisite for remaining enrolled, and prevented him from appealing his suspension or applying for readmission by issuing and refusing to remove the [No Trespass Order],” Judge Moon said at the hearing.

Bhattacharya fights back

According to the New York Post, after an unbelievable amount of back and forth, disciplinary hearings, and too many consequences to list here, the former UVA student eventually filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated along with his 14th Amendment right to due process.

UVA fought back immediately, arguing that his claims were “baseless” and argued that he was kicked out of the university for violating its professionalism standards.

Judge Moon disagreed with the school, partly, saying “the First Amendment protects not only the affirmative right to speak, but also the ‘right to be free from retaliation by a public official for the exercise of that right.'”

“Because a student would be reluctant to express his views if he knew that his school would reprimand, suspend, or ban him from campus for doing so, the Court concludes that Bhattacharya has adequately alleged adverse action,” Judge Moon added.

Only time will tell if Bhattacharya is able to secure a victory in the court of law and restore his reputation and budding career in the medical field, but it sounds like he’s off to an excellent start.

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