Facebook Comments Boot Student From Graduation

Saint Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina barred Roman Caple from graduation over some of his comments posted on the school's Facebook page.

Facebook can be a fun written release for young and old alike. Yet many people these days are getting their hand slapped for penning info that might lead to all hell breaking loose. At Saint Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina, posting the wrong comment can get you barred from graduation.

Roman Caple was banned from attending his graduation ceremony on May 31 for speaking his mind last April and encouraging his peers to follow suit. The young man allegedly wrote on the college’s Facebook page that students should attend a public meeting and argue how the college was handling its recovery from the April 16th tornado damage.

Caple urged, Students come correct, be prepared, and have supporting documents to back up your arguments bcuz SAC will come hard!!!! That is all.”

A week after the rousing comments had been posted, Caple was summoned by the school’s Vice President for Student Development and Services Eric W. Jackson, who then informed the young man, that walking with his graduation class was not in the cards for him at this time. After the meeting, Jackson then went on to explain the college’s position even further in a letter to Caple. Apparently the graduation ban was the result of the Facebook comments, adding that “[a]ll students enrolled at Saint Augustine’s College are responsible for protecting the reputation of the college and supporting its mission.”

The case was quickly gaining publicity, so the college then decided to issue a public statement with regards to their decision surrounding the Caple incident:

It was determined that the comments made to the page by Mr. Caple, coupled with other comments he made to select individuals, were designed for the sole purpose of inciting students to react to the College’s continued efforts to manage a difficult situation. At a time when the College staff was working diligently to ensure the well being of all students, Mr. Caple, a senior, chose to attempt to create chaos. It is important to note that Mr. Caple is a student who resides off campus and therefore, was not present on campus throughout the tornado or its aftermath.

Caple did receive his cap and gown and officially graduated but he was barred from attending the commencement activities. The depicted rabble-rousing student plans on continuing his battle with the college. He has hired a lawyer who is seeking assistance from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), whose core mission is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities, and this includes free speech.

FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley said, “While it promises free speech, Saint Augustine’s College has apparently rolled out a brand new, unwritten ‘don’t challenge our decisions on Facebook’ rule that warrants keeping a student out of graduation ceremonies. It’s hard to think of a pettier way to punish a loyal, graduating student for publicly disagreeing with administrators.”

Big Brother always seem to be watching especially with regards to colleges and universities. As far as Facebook commenting is concerned the bro’s spectacles tend to smudge-free, so he’s all-seeing.

Do you think free speech goes right out the window when it comes to making political statements on a Facebook collegiate page?