TCU student suspended for “offensive” tweets

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    A rising sophomore who has been been barred from most campus activities, said his social media posts were inappropriate, but that he didn’t violate TCU’s mission statement.

    In addition to the one year suspension, Harry Vincent, must serve 60 hours of community service and attend diversity and sensitivity training. He must also meet bi-weekly with Glory Robinson, the associate dean of students, who first notified him that he violated the student code of conduct.

    Vincent tweeted about the events in Baltimore, the impact of terrorism and the Islamic State. Robinson found him in violation and a panel of TCU faculty members and administrators upheld her decision.

    Lynn Flahive, an assistant professor in the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences served as the appeal chair. She noted that “these types of comments are not acceptable at TCU,” in a written statement after the panel met.

    A statement from the university also defended the decision: “TCU expects its student to behave in a manner consistent with its mission… When students’ conduct violates the university’s behavioral standards, they are subject to a disciplinary process, and will be held accountable for their actions.”

    Robinson and the appeal panel held that Vincent’s actions caused harm to other individuals and was in direct conflict of TCU’s mission statement, warranting the disciplinary action.

    On April 29, Robinson emailed Vincent to inform him that he had violated the student code of conduct.

    Vincent said initially he did understand what he had done, just that the charges had been brought against him and he was to report to Robinson.

    “I had to sit down with my friends and think about what it [the email] could have been about,” Vincent said. “I had no idea.”

    Vincent’s post received heavy traffic after a middle school classmate he identified as Kelsey put them in a Tumblr post. Kelsey, who is not a TCU student, wrote that Vincent’s comments were “racist” and “disgusting. She implored viewers of the post to contact TCU’s administration and complain about Vincent’s tweets.

    “The tweets were about Baltimore,” Vincent said. “I didn’t say anything about race. People turned that into race.”

    Robinson met with Vincent on May 1 to discuss the tweets in question and inform him of the charges. Vincent was also told to write an apology letter and a recommendation on what disciplinary actions should be taken against him.

    Vincent was found in violation of Section 3.2.1 and 3.2.13 in the code of student conduct.

    Section 3.2.1 deals with inflicting bodily or emotional harm, regardless of intent. These actions sexual misconduct, stalking, verbal harassment, hate crimes and bias-related incidents.

    Section 3.2.13, however, covers “any conduct that is considered inappropriate or inconsistent with the university’s mission, vision or core values.”

    Vincent said he’s being punished because the university was connected his tweets with the controversial Yik-Yak posts about the Baltimore riots.

    “It seems like they were trying to use me as an example,” Vincent said. “The punishment didn’t fit what I had done.”

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