Thursday, October 27, 2005

University sophomore receives punishment for online anti-gay remarks

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According to an article WTAE-TV 4 (, a Duquesne University sophomore has been punished under the university's code after he made anti-gay remarks, including calling gays "sub-human." The remarks were originally made on Facebook, an online directory and community forum-type website for college students. His remarks soon spread over the internet and through the university student body. According to the article:
Ryan Miner, 19, of Hagerstown, Md., was sanctioned by Duquesne after posting his view in The Facebook, an online directory that is not related to the university. Miner opposed an effort by other students to form a Gay-Straight Alliance group, an issue that is still being debated by the university. "I believe as a student that my First Amendment rights in the Constitution were subverted and attacked," said Miner. After Miner's comments appeared online, some students complained to the school. After a hearing, the Office of Judicial Affairs found Miner guilty of violating the University Code, which prohibits harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation, among other groups. A 10-page paper was assigned as punishment. Miner said he refuses to write it and will file an appeal.
===== A really good debate exists here. Not only does it exist in Pittsburgh, but also in Greensboro. UNCG wants to be able to punish resident students for alcohol consumption based upon evidence found on Facebook, such as pictures or comments. My question is this... can universities really enforce the student code of conduct when a student's conduct is not related to the university? Mr. Miner, had he made those remarks during a class or on a univeristy-sponsored website or somewhere on campus, should then be punished. He should not be punished for what he said outside of the university's jurisdiction. I guess many would expect me to say... "Kick him out of school!" and be the most radical gay rights activist I can be on this issue... but, nope. The university shouldn't be able to punish him... the remarks were made outside of the university's control.