A 21-year-old Fairfax County student has been suspended by a small Virginia college for what he says was merely a humorous political protest -- he threw a pie in the college president's face.
Michael Swartzbeck, a senior at Radford College in southwest Virginia, moved out of his dormitory yesterday after a campus judicial board found him guilty of disorderly conduct and physical abuse.
Swartzbeck, now living with friends in Radford until he is allowed to return to school in the spring, said he will apologize to college president Donald Dedmon and pay his $6.55 dry cleaning bill. But he any maturity at all, they'd be able to take a joke," he said. "The pie in the face is such a classic gag."
The pie toss occurred Dec. 20 at Dedmon's annual Christmas party for the college's 5,600 students. Swartzbeck said he threw the pie partly in protest because a year ago Radford sold a 300-acre farm the students had been using for horseriding and recreation and spent $171,000 of the proceeds on a house for Dedmon.
"Things are pretty strapped financially here, so it's kind of distasteful when they spend all that money for a house for the president," Swartzbeck said.
Swartzbeck said there was nothing to the pie but whipped cream and crust. "It was pretty basic," he said. "I was on a tight budget."
College officials have declined to comment. Swartzbeck, also a cartoonist for the campus paper, says he is looking for a temporary job, but has ruled out working in a bakery. "I hadn't planned on making pies a career," he said.