A lawsuit against the University of Tennessee questions when schools can discipline students because of their online speech.
So who are the administrative prudes/jerks involved here? I want names, lol.
To Kimberly Diei, a pharmacy graduate student at the University of Tennessee, her posts on Twitter and Instagram were well within the bounds of propriety. She was just having fun. “Sex positive,” she called them.
Posting under a pseudonym, kimmykasi, she exposed her cleavage in a tight dress and stuck out her tongue. In homage to the rapper Cardi B, one of her idols, she made up some raunchy rap lyrics. By this week, she had gained more than 19,500 Instagram followers and 2,000 on Twitter.
But to the university, her social media messages were more than just a bit racy. After an anonymous source reported them for a second time, a disciplinary panel declared Ms. Diei’s posts “vulgar,” “crude” and not in keeping with the mores of her chosen profession. In September, it ordered her expelled.
“I was sick to my stomach,” Ms. Diei, 27, recalled.
She was given two days to appeal, and she scrambled to find a lawyer. With the threat of a lawsuit looming, the dean of the college reversed the decision to expel her. But the experience was so jarring, Ms. Diei says, that on Wednesday she filed a federal lawsuit with the help of a pro bono lawyer, arguing that the public university had violated her constitutional right of free expression “for no legitimate pedagogical reason.”