“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.
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