A student at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island claims she’s been suspended for hitting Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, with a pie while Friedman was delivering a Earth Day speak at the university.
Clearly, pieing someone is not appropriate behaviour. This is especially true on a university campus where one should be debating issues, not trying to interfere with debate. (Pieing tend to disturb speeches, thereby interfering with debate.)
There should be non-academic consequences for pieing a guest at a university? Yes, there should be. I would suggest an assault charge be laid, the student be restricted from non-academic activities and be shunned by polite company.
The university should not impose academic penalties for a first offence. I view suspension as an academic penalty as it temporarily removes the students from classes.
There is no need to overreact, after all it was only a pie.