Colorado College Denies Appeal for New Hearing from Student Suspended for Social Media Post

December 11, 2015

By Debbie Kelley at The Gazette

Colorado College administrators denied an appeal for a new hearing from a student who was suspended for two years because of a post he made on social media but did reduce his suspension to one year.

Thaddeus Pryor, a southwest Colorado resident who had been a junior at CC, can return to campus after May 16, according to an appeal decision from Dean of Students Mike Edmonds that was announced in a Dec. 3 letter.

Graduation is May 14. Until then, Pryor is banned from school property.

At issue is this: To a post on the social media app Yik Yak that read #blackwomenmatter, Pryor responded with, “They matter, they’re just not hot.”

The suspension was lessened due to Pryor having no prior disciplinary record, the letter stated, with Edmonds adding, “I believe this will provide you with the opportunity you asked for: to apologize, learn and mitigate the damage caused by your actions.”

The letter also stated, “In your own words, you accepted responsibility for the comments, which you deemed hurtful and distasteful, and stated you deserve to be held accountable for your actions. Since you have admitted responsibility and accepted accountability, I see no grounds for a new hearing.”

College officials have not spoken about the incident, or in regard to another student being expelled for a post he made on Yik Yak referencing the television show “South Park.”

In recent months, the school has had problems with racial slurs being made allegedly by students on social media.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sent a letter to CC officials Nov. 25, urging the school to “honor its moral and contractual obligation to keep the promises of freedom of expression that it makes to students.”

The organization’s senior program officer, Ari Cohn, an attorney, said the disciplinary action for posting “what was intended to be a joke on social media completely contradicts the school’s promises of freedom of speech.”

Schools: Colorado College Cases: Colorado College: Student Suspended for Two Years for Joke on Social Media