Cooper Medical School of Rowan University: Student Punished Under Unconstitutional Social Media Policy


Rowan University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

In January 2017, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University  filed a “Professionalism Intervention Report” against a student for two separate pictures on her Instagram that appeared next to each other: one of the student in her CMSRU white coat and another of the student topless on a European beach, which had a caption praising the beach’s policy allowing nudity accompanied with the hashtag #freethenipple. On May 9, 2017, FIRE wrote to CMSRU, calling on the university to revise its “Social Networking” policy and abandon its practice of punishing students for engaging in constitutionally protected expression. This resulted in the university revising the policy. FIRE wrote again to CMSRU on October 6 to commend it for implementing a new policy and to suggest further revisions. Although CMSRU consulted with FIRE regarding our recommendations for the new policy, none of these changes were made.