Minn. Court: University Can Punish Student for Facebook Posts

MINNESOTA — The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public universities can restrict the speech of students in professional programs when the program has rules that are consistent with established professional standards.

This marks the first time that a state Supreme Court has considered the question of what off-campus speech rights a college student has, the Student Press Law Center reports. The case, Tatro v. University of Minnesota, centers on the Facebook posts of Amanda Tatro, a former student in the University of Minnesota’s mortuary science program.

Tatro posted on Facebook that she was looking forward to stabbing “a certain someone in the throat” with an embalming tool, and that she “gets to play, I mean dissect, Bernie today” — Bernie being a donor body on which she was working. A classmate brought the posts to the attention of police, and a panel of the campus committee on student behavior concluded in that Tatro had violated the student conduct code prohibiting threatening conduct.

Read the full story.

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