- The Washington Times - Monday, April 5, 2004

All charges were dropped against one of the University of Maryland students who shouted at Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, during a forum last month.

Ryan Grim, 26, was charged with disruptive conduct after he shouted a question at Mrs. Cheney.

“They’re falling all over themselves to drop the charges,” Mr. Grim, 26, said after university officials informed him by e-mail about their decision. “They haven’t apologized yet, and I imagine I’ll ask for that.”

He and fellow graduate students Chuck DeVoe, 20, and Michael Cawdery, 25, interrupted Mrs. Cheney during her Feb. 29 appearance on campus during a time when the speaker was answering only written questions. One of the students asked a question about slave reparations and another yelled a vulgarity when he did not like one of Mrs. Cheney’s answers.

The students were approached by campus police officers and escorted from the forum, being taped for C-SPAN, as the program neared its end.

The school’s Code of Student Conduct states suspension is the standard sanction for students who interfere with public speakers, but allows for heckling that doesn’t drown out the speaker.

University officials had suggested before the e-mail message to Mr. Grim that he and the two other students would not be found responsible for violations.

“There is a very high threshold under which we would punish a student for speaking out at an event,” said John Zacker, director of student conduct.

Neither Mr. DeVoe nor Mr. Cawdrey could be contacted to confirm whether their charges also had been dropped.

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