X threatens lawsuit over student disciplined for tweets
According to recent reports, Elon Musk’s X has made good on its promise to support users facing consequences over their posts, coming to the defense of a University of Illinois student facing disciplinary action over his posts.
According to information gathered by Financial Times, Juan David Campolargo, an engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was accused in early November of violating the university’s code of conduct after promoting an event on Twitter as an open gathering with free food, when it was a closed conference. As a result, he was at risk of being placed on conduct probation and removed from campus housing.
According to a letter obtained by the Financial Times, lawyers representing Campolargo “with the support of Twitter Inc.” wrote to the university on Nov. 14, stating that upholding the disciplinary charges over his Sept. 30 tweets would violate his First Amendment rights. They threatened legal action if the preliminary finding against Campolargo was not reversed.
The case highlights Musk’s efforts to position X as a bastion of free speech since his $44 billion acquisition in October 2022. In August, the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” pledged to pay the legal bills and sue on behalf of users unfairly targeted due to their posts.
Musk has followed through on his promise despite simultaneously working to cut costs at the company. “No limit,” he wrote in August. “We won’t just sue, it will be extremely loud and we will go after the boards of directors of the companies too,” he added.
The University of Illinois said it could not comment on the letter or allegations due to federal privacy laws. The law firm representing Campolargo confirmed assisting with X’s support but declined further comment.
According to his website, Campolargo is a student who has given TedX talks and published a book on lithium. The engineering student ran a Twitter account sharing information about campus events with free food before facing disciplinary charges over alleged student conduct violations and theft.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki.