Update (June 26, 2012): Minnesota Litigator is sad to note that the subject of the posts below, Amanda Tatro, was found dead this morning at the age of 31. The City Pages article was inconclusive as to the cause of death.
Update (June 20, 2012): (For background, see original post after the break) Amanda Tatro’s “Facebook posts violated established program rules that require respect, discretion, and confidentiality in connection with work on human cadavers.”
A university may regulate student speech on Facebook that violates established professional conduct standards. This is the legal standard we adopt here, with the qualification that any restrictions on a student’s Facebook posts must be narrowly tailored and directly related to established professional conduct standards.
But all hope is not lost for a Jordan (“Pro for the Protester“) Kushner constitutional law repeat victory as the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear argument in “the trocar-wielding student case” (see original post after the jump regarding scary Facebook posts that resulted in punishment by the University of Minnesota) on February 8 in reviewing the Court of Appeals case that went against Amanda Tatro, Kushner’s client. The issues:
(1) whether the University of Minnesota violated Tatro’s constitutional rights to free speech by imposing disciplinary sanctions for her Facebook posts; (2) whether the University had the authority to conduct a disciplinary hearing and impose sanctions that included changing a passing grade to a failing grade; and (3) whether the University presented sufficient evidence to support a determination that Tatro committed disciplinary offenses. (University of Minnesota Office for Student Conduct & Academic Integrity)
Original Post (July 14, 2011): Twin Cities lawyer Jordan Kushner appears to be single-handedly filling the niche for Twin Cities First Amendment cases involving fantasy gore.
He is one-win/one-loss (for now). He won for protesters who, dressed as zombies, were arrested when protesting materialism. He was unsuccessful, however, before the Minnesota Court of Appeals in attacking the University of Minnesota’s discipline of Amanda Tatro whose light-hearted if morbid Facebook posts were found to have crossed the line.
Apparently, silly Facebook chatter about stabbing “a certain someone” with a trocar can come back to haunt…
Prof. Eugene Volokh, in his widely read legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, raises some significant questions and criticism about the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision issued this week. (The entire opinion is here.)