On March 22, 2011, SMU officials issued a safety alert to students and staff advising them to be on the lookout for Daniel Hux, a recently expelled student who had been barred from campus.
The fliers didn't go into detail about why Hux wasn't allowed at the university, and SMU Police Chief Richard Shafer would tell The Daily Campus only that he had violated university policy and that officials had "safety concerns."
In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, Hux contends that he never posed a safety threat and that his expulsion was the result of a conspiracy cooked up by Shafer and other SMU officials -- residence life and student housing head Steve Logan and vice president for student affairs Lisa Webb are named individually -- to violate his constitutional rights.
Hux, a former Marine who enrolled at SMU and became a residential adviser in one of the dorms in the fall of 2010, traces his troubles back to a conflict with his supervisor. She accused him of repeatedly coming onto her and making her feel uncomfortable. Hux contends that she misconstrued his intentions, which he says were innocent.
But Hux, according to the suit, never got to explain his side of the story. After a series of meetings with his supervisor and his supervisor's boss, he was fired from his RA job on February 10, 2011.
He immediately appealed the decision, asserting that he had never violated the school's code of conduct and that, even if there were allegations that he had, he was never given a chance to defend himself.
Logan scheduled a meeting with Hux, ostensibly to discuss the appeal. When Hux arrived, he was surprised to be greeted by two SMU police officers and Shafer, who asked if he was carrying a gun. He wasn't. Logan, according to the suit, then proceeded to tell Hux that "he had something against women."
The suit says that Shaffer chimed in to suggest that he go in for an on-campus mental evaluation because he "did not want another Virginia Tech or Arizona." People on campus already thought Hux was crazy, Shaffer reportedly said; going to the shrink could prove them wrong.
Hux was escorted to the mental health clinic but left before being seen over concerns that the papers he was asked to sign required acknowledgment that he needed help and would give up patient privacy protections.
Things continued to escalate until March 20, 2011, when Hux was approached by several SMU police officers after leaving a meeting for potential student senate candidates. They accused him of being at the building in violation of a protective order (Hux contends that such an order didn't exist), placed him in handcuffs, and "groped" him, according to the suit.
They also proceeded, without consent, to search his car, which a relative had driven to pick him up. Inside, they found a handgun which, after half an hour in handcuffs, they returned to the car. They told him not to bring it back.
The next day, he was met by police officers as he left his last class. He was once again handcuffed and groped, and he was led to the police station. There, he was informed by Shaffer that he was being expelled and that he was no longer allowed on campus or to have any contact with any students or staff members.
He was also informed by Shaffer, he says, that he had tried to kill former First Lady Laura Bush, who had recently paid a visit to the university. The fliers went out the next day.
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Hux contends that all of this -- the expulsion, the arrest, the public shaming -- amounts to a violation his rights under the First (freedom of speech), Fourth (unreasonable search and seizure), and Fourteenth (due process) Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
He accuses the university of a laundry list of violations -- breach of contract, defamation, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence -- for which he is seeking unspecified monetary damages.
We have an email out to SMU public relations director Kent Best seeking comment.