Utah State University: Students Blocked By Official University Social Media Accounts

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Utah State University

On Dec. 9, 2020, USU student Zachary Grant Bess criticized the public university on Twitter and chided the university as “you bastards.” In response, staff blocked Bess from accessing USU’s official Twitter account. Although USU later unblocked Bess, FIRE wrote to USU on Jan. 28, 2021, urging it to rescind its social media policy, which allows the university to delete comments or block users for “profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, electronic harassment, or privacy violations.” FIRE reminded USU that it cannot punish students for protected speech and that students’ access to their university’s social media discussions is not only a First Amendment right, but is also important to facilitating students’ awareness about campus happenings and announcements. On January 28, USU informed FIRE that it was in the process of improving its social media policy and procedures.