NC College Bans Student for Facebook Comment

October 13, 2011

A public North Carolina community college has banned a student from campus after comments he posted on the school’s official Facebook page.

Catawba Valley Community College marketing student Marc Bechtol was suspended for two semesters and also banned from campus in early October.

Bechtol put the comment on CVCC’s officials Facebook page on Sept. 28. On Oct. 5, he received a disciplinary letter from the college that said his comments were "disturbing" and indicated "possible malicious action against the college." It also said he violated the school’s student conduct policy.

Below is the comment Bechtol put on the Facebook page:

Did anyone else get a bunch of credit card spam in their CVCC inbox today? So, did CVCC sell our names to banks, or did Higher One? I think we should register CVCC’s address with every porn site known to man. Anyone know any good viruses to send them?"

Moments later he added a second comment: "OK, maybe that would be a slight overreaction."

Since June, Bechtol has been criticizing the school’s decision to add a debit card to the student ID card.

Bechtol said he posted the comment in frustration of receiving an email offer from a credit card company just a day after activating his new student ID card.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has taken on the case, saying CVCC violated the First Amendment by suspending Bechtol over the Facebook comments.

Bechtol is appealing the suspension and ban. A committee of students could determine his final fate if school officials uphold his other appeals.

Schools:  Catawba Valley Community College

Cases:  Catawba Valley Community College: Student Banned from Campus after Protesting College’s Deal with Debit Card Company on Facebook