Scholarship News

Student Sues College After Being Expelled for Facebook Posts


February 19, 2013
by Suada Kolovic
Obsessively checking wall posts, commenting on old high school prom photos, liking statuses that have no likeable qualities and participating in a poke war (if that’s still a thing) are pretty common among Facebook users. But for those of you who think that Facebook is a free-for-all to express your unfiltered thoughts, you are sadly mistaken: A nursing student from Central Lakes College was expelled over his Facebook posts and now he’s suing.

Obsessively checking wall posts, commenting on old high school prom photos, liking statuses that have no likeable qualities and participating in a poke war (if that’s still a thing) are pretty common among Facebook users. But for those of you who think that Facebook is a free-for-all to express your unfiltered thoughts, you are sadly mistaken: A nursing student from Central Lakes College was expelled over his Facebook posts and now he’s suing.

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Thirty-seven-year-old Craig Keefe was one semester away from becoming a registered nurse when officials at the two-year college deemed two of his private Facebook posts “disturbing.” Keefe claims administrators never showed him the offending posts, nor did they explain how he violated school policy. His lawyer, Jordan Kushner of Minneapolis, explains, “He really doesn't know... It's a public institution. You're entitled to due process before any type of significant action is taken against you. You deserve to know what the charges are and the chance to be heard." The suit accuses Central Lakes College of conspiring to violate Keefe’s constitutional rights to privacy, free speech and due process and seeks reinstatement in the program as well as damages. (For more on this story, click here.)

Do you think it’s fair that Keefe’s private posts were used against him? Should college officials take it upon themselves to supervise a student’s Facebook page? Let us know in the comments section.

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jessica s  on  2/25/2013 1:32:40 AM commented:

They have no right to do that

Deborah D  on  2/24/2013 11:13:38 AM commented:

It is all ways better to keep one's opinion to themselves other wise, what ever you say might come back to haunt you.

Tiffany G  on  2/22/2013 3:05:04 PM commented:

As someone who attends this particular school and is a nursing student... The school holds nursing students to higher moral expectations. He messed up. They tell you when you register that any offense can be grounds for expulsion from the program. This includes speeding tickets, being late on your child support etc. the point is the school holds our nursing program to higher standards. We are to be role models. If e didn't like the policies in the first place then don't go into nursing.

Alyxandria L  on  2/22/2013 8:08:15 AM commented:

I am a strong supporter of watch what you post on the Internet whether it be Facebook or just a blog (etc). Now the legality of whether the school had the right to expel this student stands uncertain. I personally think they have the right not to admit a student because of what he or she has on his or her Facebook, but once the student is admitted, I do not think the school has the right to expel, except in special circumstances where another student/faculty member or the campus is put in danger.

Elizabeth H  on  2/21/2013 2:36:08 PM commented:

unless otherwise stated in school policy. The Nursing division could have expelled him for violation of patient confidentiality. As a student nurse I have to be extremely careful about what I say, publicly or privately about my clinical experience. If patient confidentiality was broken through his facebook account then the school can expel him: just like he would get fired from a job as a nurse for breaking the same policy. (HIPAA)

Nancy C  on  2/20/2013 8:57:54 PM commented:

I find this an violation of Keefe's constitution right's for freedom of speech, as this is his personal page and not a public page. No, one should have their opinion on their page made into a issue. This is very wrong of the college.

Kista m  on  2/19/2013 11:26:08 AM commented:

Unless the school could show accurate violations of this students privacy they have no right to say what he can and can't post on facebook.

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