Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

U. Tennessee Grad Student Fights Back After School Tries to Expel Her for Social Media Posts

U. Tennessee Grad Student Fights Back After School Tries to Expel Her for Social Media Posts

“filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the University of Tennessee Wednesday”

This student was tweeting about Cardi B. and other non-controversial topics. Now the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has gotten involved.

From the FIRE blog:

LAWSUIT: The University of Tennessee tried to expel a grad student for a tweet about Cardi B and other social media posts. Now she’s fighting back.

Teetering on the edge of expulsion from her pharmacy program for her social media posts, Kimberly Diei sought help to defend her rights. Now, after two unconstitutional investigations and facing the threat of a third, she seeks justice.

Diei filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the University of Tennessee Wednesday. Backed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Diei’s suit argues that colleges cannot police a student’s personal expression outside of school simply because they do not like or understand it.

“It’s just a matter of time before they come back for another investigation into my expression on social media,” said Diei, who is seeking her doctorate in pharmacy with an emphasis on nuclear pharmacy. “UT spied on my social media activity — activity that has no bearing on my success as a pharmacist or my education. I can be a successful and professional pharmacist as well as a strong woman that embraces her sexuality. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

In September 2019, one month after enrolling at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, an administrator told Diei that the university received an anonymous complaint about her Instagram and Twitter accounts — and that she was now under investigation.

Diei appeared before the college’s Professional Conduct Committee, which unanimously determined that she violated university policies with what the committee deemed to be her “crude” and “sexual” posts. Refusing to identify the policies she violated or even the posts in question, the committee required Diei to write a letter reflecting on her behavior. She completed the letter despite reservations that the committee was violating her First Amendment rights.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


UT Knoxville has become increasingly “woke” and only getting worse year by year.
College, of all places, should be a bastion of free speech!

    Milhouse in reply to UTDad. | February 7, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Um, excuse me? This is the exact opposite of “wokeness”. It’s social-conservative prudeness, part of UT’s years-long crusade against students promoting sex. Which violates the first amendment just as much as the usual left-wing crap, which is why FIRE is involved, because FIRE is not a conservative organization; it defends freedom of speech for everyone, right or left. You know, the way the ACLU used to.

Interestingly, the student is a Black female. One wonders what she posted that so offended the campus elites to the point of trying to expel a Black female grad student.

    Milhouse in reply to RoyalWulff55. | February 7, 2021 at 11:21 am

    The excerpt says: UT objected to ‘what the committee deemed to be her “crude” and “sexual” posts’, and doesn’t seem to believe she can be ‘a successful and professional pharmacist as well as a strong woman that embraces her sexuality’.

    If you click through to the article itself you will see that UT has a history of censoring sex-related speech. This is social conservatives behaving just like the usual left-wing fascists at other universities, or even at the same university on other topics. Sex has long been one area where so-cons and radical leftists have joined forces. See Dworkin and McKinnon.

Without delineating any samples or even describing what the contents of the student’s comments were, this article is one of the most incomplete I can remember reading.

From their football program to their academic programs, UT is determined to fail.

The choice of FIRE to take this case is probably a wise decision. Rather than choose a case involving a white student posting supposedly racist things on social media, they choose a minority student posting supposedly prurient or sexual things on social media. Nevertheless, the same principle applies. Any favorable case law that develops from this can still be used to establish that social media posts outside of the university are protected speech, and that university retaliation against students violates their rights. I hope some of these sorts of cases make it to the Supreme Court and get properly decided.

Perhaps Milhouse, or someone, can explain the relationship of “cancel culture” and ‘wokerness”
Ignorant as I appear to be, I am willing to be enlightened. Both have seriously infringed on all free speech.