A Minnesota nursing student is suing his former nursing school for allegedly kicking him out over “disturbing” posts on his Facebook page without telling him what the problem was.
The St. Paul Pioneer-Press reported on Sunday that 37-year-old Craig Keefe is suing Central Lakes College in U.S. District Court for both reinstatement in the school’s nursing program and monetary damages following his expulsion in December 2012, one semester short of completion.
The suit, filed on Feb. 8, accuses the school and several administrators of conspiring to violate Keefe’s constitutional rights to privacy, free speech and due process. It also says that when they accessed his private Facebook account, they violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.
“These are not posts that are open to the public,” said Keefe’s attorney, Jordan Kushner. “Apparently, a student complained, and they would not tell him how they got into his Facebook page.”
Keefe’s suit said that he was called into a Dec. 5 meeting with Connie Frisch, who supervises the school’s nursing program, and dean Beth Adams and confronted over posts on his private account that contained the words “stupid bitch” and “a comment about there not being enough whiskey for anger management.”
The suit said that Frisch “asked Keefe for an explanation, while refusing to let him see the documents.” Keefe said that the whiskey comment was a joke, and that he had tried to delete comments posted after his private account had been hacked “a couple of weeks” prior to the meeting.
However, Frisch then allegedly held “a stack of papers” which she claimed was a printout of Keefe’s posts, which she found “disturbing,” without letting him see them, and expelled him from the program. A subsequent letter stated the reason for his dismissal as being, “Behavior unbecoming of the profession and transgression of professional boundaries.”
Keefe said in his suit he was then given five days to appeal the ruling to vice president for academic affairs Kelly McCalla, but that McCalla also failed to provide him with the posts in question. And last month, McCalla also allegedly told Keefe he was not eligible to appeal the decision because he was “removed for an ‘academic’ rather than ‘disciplinary’ reason” under the school’s code of conduct.
Adams, Frisch and McCalla are all named as defendants in the suit, as well as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities chancellor Steven Rosenstone.
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