A student at Catawba Valley Community College in North Carolina was suspended for two semesters and banned from campus over something he wrote on Facebook. The student, Marc Becthol, was a critic of the college’s relationship with Higher One, a financial services company.
After signing up for a Higher One checking account–something the college encouraged students to do–Becthol received a phone call from another credit card company. Worried that either the college or Higher One had shared his personal information, he wrote on Facebook, “Did anyone else get a bunch of credit card spam in their CVCC inbox today? So, did CVCC sell our names to banks, or did Higher One? I think we should register CVCC’s address with every porn site known to man. Anyone know any good viruses to send them?”
According to CVCC, Becthol’s actions violate a university policy against, “[c]ommission of any other offense which, in the opinion of the administration or faculty, may be contrary to the best interest of the CVCC community.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote to CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw and urged the college to rescind Bechtol’s punishment and abolish the policy. “CVCC’s punishment of Bechtol is unconstitutional,” wrote Adam Kissel, vice president of FIRE.