Student Expelled for Facebook Posts Sues College Administrators
Nursing student Craig Keefe was only a semester away from completing his fourth year at Minnesota’s Central Lakes College when he was expelled for posts made on his personal Facebook profile. He has since filed a federal lawsuit against several Central Lake administrators and the chief executive of Minnesota’s college system in order to be reinstated and receive damages.
Already a licensed practical nurse, Keefe was set to finish his associate’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse.
Last December, however, he was called to a meeting by Connie Frisch, the head of Central Lake’s nursing program. At the meeting, Frisch is said to have confronted Keefe about posts he made on Facebook, one of which used the term “stupid bitch” and the other being “a comment about there not being enough whiskey for anger management.”
Keefe’s attorney, Jordan Kushner, claims Keefe was never shown the posts in question or given a specific explanation for his expulsion. He also claims that Keefe was denied an appeal, being told he “was removed for an ‘academic’ rather than ‘disciplinary’ violation under the Conduct Code, and therefore a contested case hearing was inapplicable.”
“He really doesn’t know. That’s a big basis for the lawsuit,” Kushner told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It’s a public institution. You’re entitled to due process before any type of significant action is taken against you. You deserve to know what the charges are and the chance to be heard.”
And despite being approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Central Lakes’ nursing program is not nationally accredited, meaning Keefe will not be able to transfer to a different school to finish his degree.
“Unless we get the court to order him back in, that degree is shot,” Kushner said. “All the time spent on it is lost.”
Kushner wonders how the school obtained the Facebook posts, saying: “These are not posts that are open to the public. Apparently, a student complained, and they would not tell him how they got into his Facebook page.”