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Grad student almost expelled for Facebook post

A Syracuse University graduate student faced expulsion for something he said on Facebook. But thanks in part to an intervention from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the student–Matthew S. Werenczak–will be allowed to complete his degree. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Mr. Werenczak said that during a field trip, he had heard a local NAACP representative say, “We need to start hiring our teachers from historically black colleges.” Since he and another tutor had just introduced themselves as Syracuse students, Mr. Werenczak said he found the remarks offensive.

On his personal Facebook page, he wrote that the comment was an example of “racism” and implied that his hard work tutoring at “the worst school in the city” was not being valued.

A few months later, after a fellow student brought the post to the attention of the School of Education, Mr. Werenczak’s adviser wrote him a letter saying he might be removed from the program because the Facebook post was “unprofessional, offensive, and insensitive.”

To make amends, Werenczak was required to undergo diversity training, anger management training, and write a reflective paper. But he still might have been expelled, had FIRE not sent a letter to the university alleging that his rights were being grossly violated.

This isn’t the first time a student has faced expulsion for Facebook-related activities–another such instance was #1 on The College Fix’s Top 10 Outrageously Dumb Campus Moments of 2011.

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