Student Banned from Campus after Protesting College's Deal with Debit Card Company on Facebook
CHARLOTTE, N.C., October 12, 2011—A North Carolina college student was pulled out of the classroom last week and banned from campus after he complained on Facebook about the school's aggressive marketing of a debit card company to its students. After officials at Catawba Valley Community College punished him for a satirical Facebook post deemed "contrary to the best interest of the CVCC community," Marc Bechtol came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
"Catawba Valley Community College violated the First Amendment by responding to obviously hyperbolic criticism with swift and severe punishment," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "Marc Bechtol must be allowed to return to class."
Update, October 14, 2011: Charges Dropped for
Student Banned from Campus, But Unconstitutional Policy Remains North Carolina
Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) student Marc Bechtol learned this morning that all charges against him have been dropped and he is free to step foot on campus. Bechtol was pulled out of his classroom last week, suspended for two semesters, and banned from campus without a hearing after he complained on Facebook about his school's aggressive marketing of a debit card company to its students. Despite CVCC's decision to rescind Bechtol's punishment, problems remain, as Bechtol is still required to notify the college before using computers on campus. CVCC also has failed to revise the unconstitutional policy it used to punish him and has not rescinded its claim that the Facebook comment was a policy violation. FIRE will continue to closely monitor free speech at CVCC.