CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — A local college student told Channel 9 that something he posted on Facebook may get him kicked out of school.
Marc Bechtol said he was being satirical and exercising his right to free speech when he posted a message on the Catawba Valley Community College’s Facebook page.
“(The post said) ‘Anyone know any good viruses to send them? Maybe we should register them with every porn site known to man.’ And then, a couple minutes later, I said, ‘Maybe that would be excessive,’” Bechtol said.
Bechtol said he made the post after receiving spam emails in his Catawba Valley Community College account. He thinks the college gave out his personal information when he got a debit card that also serves as a student ID.
When the college saw his Facebook post, it took action.
“Walked into my class, told me to pack my things up (and) said she needed to see me in her office and banned me from campus,” Bechtol said. “At that time, they had the sheriff’s office up there to make sure I left.”
College President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw didn’t talk directly about the case concerning Bechtol but did say students are not required to get the debit card and that the school does not make any money from its use.
Hinshaw said prior to starting at the college, students are required to know the school’s code of conduct.
“We believe there has been some violation of that so we’re going through the process with the student to get this resolved,” Hinshaw said.
Bechtol said he thinks the college is trying to silence him over his opposition to the debit card.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is stepping in, claiming Bechtol’s Facebook posts are protected speech and asking CVCC to end Bechtol’s discipline.
But some students Channel 9 talked to said Bechtol may have gone too far with his words.
“I think it is a little childish,” Ashley Richmond said. “If he had a problem with it, he should have taken it up with the college or the business office.”
Bechtol said he plans to be more careful with his posts in the future. On Friday, he will meet with college administrators about the issue. He can appeal their decision on to a judicial committee made up of faculty and classmates.