By Emily Hull at Dallas Sun Times
A Texas Christian University student has been placed on probation and banned from campus activities for the comments he made in a Twitter fight with a Maryland woman during the 2014–2015 academic year.
The Dallas Morning News reported:
The family of Harry Vincent, 19, and an advocacy group are trying to pressure TCU to respect students’ free speech rights, abide by its disciplinary procedures and reverse its punishment of Vincent.
The penalties were the result of a handful of Tweets, including ones slamming Islam, using a derogatory term for Mexicans and saying “hoodrat criminals” in Baltimore should be shipped to the Sahara Desert in Africa. Vincent, who is unsure if he’ll return to TCU, said he wasn’t referring to race in those Tweets.
TCU officials didn’t comment much on the matter, pointing only to the Code of Student Conduct, stating those who don’t “live up to these values” can face suspension or expulsion.
The Morning News spoke with Ari Cohn, an attorney with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. He said these types of disputes are common and more likely to happen at places like TCU.
“Private universities are not subject to the constraints of the US Constitution,” Cohn said. “But they are morally obligated to uphold the promises of free speech they make to students.”
Vincent agreed to write an apology after finding out his comments could lead to expulsion. TCU officials told the Vincent family that if they were to file an appeal, their son could receive an even harsher punishment.
The complaints came to the university from a Tumblr user in Maryland who took offense to several tweets Vincent sent out via Twitter.
Vincent was afforded a hearing before the TCU disciplinary body which gave a suspension in abeyance through August 15, 2016 and disciplinary probation through graduation from TCU. The suspension terms stated Vincent can not set foot on the Fort Worth campus unless he is attending class or to use an academic facility, such as the library.
He is not permitted to live on campus, attend co-curricular activities or use the student recreation center.
Vincent has not determined if he will continue to attend TCU.