Haughwout v. Tordenti

From September 2015 to July 2019
Central Connecticut University (Public college or university)
New Britain, CT, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Austin Haughwout

    Austin Haughwout was a student at Central Connecticut State University.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
  • Incident Responses:
    University investigation issuing in sanctions
    Student sanctioned
  • Incident Status:
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


Austin Haughwout was a student at Central Connecticut State University. On numerous occasions in September 2015, he referred to “shooting up the school” to fellow students, and he named as his “number one target” a particular student in the student center. Following an investigation prompted by complaints by students, the university concluded that Haughwout was guilty of violating multiple provisions of the university’s student code of conduct prohibiting physical assault, intimidate, threatening behavior, and similar behavior. He was subsequently expelled.

Haughwout subsequently filed a lawsuit against various university administrators claiming that his expulsion constituted breach of contract, contravened an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violated his state and federal constitutional rights to due process and free speech. The trial court rejected Haughwout’s contractual and due process claims and further concluded that the defendants did not violate his free speech rights because his statements constituted “true threats.” On appeal, the Supreme Court of Connecticut affirmed the trial court’s ruling.