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A community college student in Massachusetts faces possible disciplinary action for shouting “Remember Chappaquiddick!” during an on-campus speech by Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy yesterday.
Paul Trost, 20, a student at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass., says he was upset by an introduction of Kennedy given by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., in which the congressman noted how the long-time senator overcame hardship in life on his way to success.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
“Lynch said Kennedy had overcome such adversity to get to the place he was, and that’s a bunch of bull,” Trost said of the introduction, which occurred in the school’s student center yesterday morning.
Just as Kennedy began speaking, Trost was walking out of the room when he shouted, “Remember Chappaquiddick!”
“Most of the crowd gasped,” Trost said. “Then I walked out of the student center.”
The student says a campus police officer went outside and stopped him. He also saw some state troopers go outside, the type who accompany Kennedy around the state to provide security.
Trost says the cop took down his information and told him he would be hearing from school officials about disciplinary action. A spokesman with the campus police verified the incident but stressed that Trost was not arrested.
The student said one of his teachers confronted him after a class about the Chappaquiddick issue.
“One of my teachers called me ignorant and told me this was an embarrassment to the school,” Trost told WND. “She said to me, ‘Can’t you forgive him after all these years?’ And I said, ‘No, he killed somebody.’
“If it had been me or any other person, we’d be in jail,” Trost says he told his instructor.
Referring to his two-word shout, Trost said, “I did it because I know about Kennedy’s past. I know what happened at Chappaquiddick.
“I wanted to send a message to him that my generation still knows about it. We haven’t forgotten about it.”
Mary Jo Kopechne
Trost said he was satisfied to know that students on campus were talking about the Chappaquiddick incident later in the day – some of whom, in fact, were not familiar with it.
In 1969, Kennedy was driving a car that went off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, was killed after the car landed upside down in the water. No autopsy was ever performed to determine her exact cause of death.
At the time, Kennedy claimed he tried several times to swim down to reach Kopechne to no avail. He came under fire for not reporting the incident to authorities until the next morning. In the interim he reportedly made an effort to call a family legal adviser.
“I haven’t yet found out what’s going to happen to me,” Trost said, referring to the warning from campus police.
Trost, a liberal arts major who has protested the Iraq war, says he’s not a right-winger.
“I tend to have what would be considered liberal views,” he explained, “but I go with whatever I think is right.”
“I don’t regret what I did,” Trost said. “And if they ask me to apologize, I won’t do it.”
Trost’s father, Edward, who calls himself a conservative, says he’s proud of his son.
“He didn’t do it to be obnoxious,” Edward Trost said. “He was really offended.”
Today is Kennedy’s birthday, as he turns 74.