A senior at a Roman Catholic college in Massachusetts who has written letters of support to a Norwegian mass murder suspect will not be on campus "for the foreseeable future," according to school officials.
Officials at Assumption College in Worcester wouldn't say Friday whether student Kevin Forts would graduate in May. Renee Buisson, the school's public affairs director, released a statement saying that Forts has a right to express personal opinions as a U.S. citizen, but that his conduct was "under administrative review."
The review includes the English major's comments to a Norwegian news outlet in support of Anders Breivik, as well as an arrest for an alleged assault on campus this year.
Breivik is standing trial in Norway in a shooting and bombing massacre in July that killed 77 people, including children. He confessed but rejects guilt by claiming he was trying to protect Norway and Europe by targeting political forces he says opened the country to immigration. He has said an anti-Muslim network he is part of will lead a revolt with the aim of deporting Muslims.
An English-language video interview on the website of VG Nett shows Forts defending Breivik's actions. Forts called the deaths of the children "a necessary political sacrifice that is not necessary again." Forts said people need to look at Breivik's political platform, "rather than his atrocious actions."
The student also called Breivik a patriot whose act "demonstrates a sense of nationalism and a moral conscience."
"He's fighting against cultural Marxism and an Islamization of Norway and he found that the most rational ... way to accomplish that was through terrorist actions on Utoya and in Oslo," Forts said.
The student told the Norwegian news outfit that he started writing letters to Breivik in February. Forts said he wanted to show support for Breivik's ideology and tell the prisoner he believed he was "not the terrorist neo-Nazi that the media portrays him to be."
Assumption officials also condemned the violence in Norway and extended sympathies to the families of massacre victims. No one returned phone messages The Associated Press left at the home of Forts' family in Shrewsbury and with another relative.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported that Forts pleaded not guilty after police arrested him in February for assault and battery after he allegedly grabbed his girlfriend on campus during an argument.
Buisson said Forts doesn't live on campus.
He was on the school's tennis team in the past and also has been on the college's student-athlete honor roll, according to a sports bio from the college's website.
That profile said Forts was born in Rhode Island, attended a religious high school and has one sibling.
The college website also shows Forts was part of an Assumption trip to Europe in May 2010. Students toured Venice, Italy, as part of a program integrating "the study of politics, arts, literature, philosophy, theology and history to help students reflect upon the heritage of the Western world."