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Facebook Comments Legitimate Grounds for Student’s Removal from College Program, Court Rules

A divided federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s ruling that a Minnesota community college was justified when it kicked a student out of a nursing program because of Facebook comments administrators deemed to be unprofessional and threatening to fellow students.

But the judges in the 2 to 1 decision disagreed on whether posts on a personal Facebook page about a course and one’s classmates qualify as speech over which an academic institution can discipline a student. Central to the rationale of those upholding the college’s decision was that the student was enrolled in a health professions program with a code of ethics.