Mortuary Sciences College Student Disciplined for Threatening Facebook Posts–Tatro v. University of Minnesota

2 06 2012

July 12, 2011

By Eric Goldman

Tatro v. University of Minnesota, 2011 WL 2672220 (Minn. App. Ct. July 11, 2011)

. . .Tatro is a student in University of Minnesota’s mortuary sciences department, a step towards working in a funeral home or as a mortician. She made a series of Facebook posts suggesting she would take violent actions towards her cadaver and perhaps against still-living people, including a post (“I still want to stab a certain someone in the throat with a trocar”) that she admitted she intended for her ex-boyfriend to read. After being alerted to the posts, the university began disciplinary proceedings against her,  . .  .

Tatro claimed she was being improperly disciplined for off-campus behavior. The appellate court disagreed:

. . .

This takes us back to the unresolved question about when online activity is on-campus or off-campus. This question is bedeviling courts in the K-12 context, as we recently saw in the messy en banc opinions from the Third Circuit (see my original post on the Third Circuit rulings). The question doesn’t get any easier when it arises in the university context.


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