Be Careful In MySpace Or You May Get Denied A Degree

from the are-you-serious? dept

We’ve seen stories of people getting arrested for posting incriminating evidence of themselves on MySpace as well as people losing jobs over info posted to a MySpace profile… but what about losing a degree? techguy83 writes in to let us know of a lawsuit by a woman who was apparently denied an education degree and teaching certificate after school officials found a photo of the woman on her MySpace page from a Halloween party. In the photo (remember, this was a Halloween party), the woman was dressed as a pirate and the photo was captioned “Drunken Pirate.” The school claims that the woman was encouraging underage drinking — but the woman is 27 now and the photo was from 2005, meaning she was 25 (or close to 25) at the time. That’s hardly underage. It’s not clear why school officials were viewing the woman’s MySpace page in determining whether or not she qualified for a degree — but if other schools start doing the same, I’d imagine we’re going to have an awful lot of students who have completed their qualifications, but have no degrees due to incriminating MySpace photos.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Be Careful In MySpace Or You May Get Denied A Degree”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Michael Vilain says:

I think that school is in deep do-do...

If the woman sucessfully completed all the course work and was awarded her degree, how can a school legally deny her what she’ earned? Only a private college with some “morals” clause in their charter could get away with it like BYU or Boob Jones U.

I’d be talking to attorneys…

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, the article says that she was denied the diploma one day BEFORE graduation. This is really a bullshit move by the university. Even IF she was promoting underage drinking, that’s something that should be taken up with the authorities, not used to deny someone their diploma.

In fact, I think that someone probably found this and reported it to the authorities who replied back by saying she isn’t underage and “please don’t waste our time with such bullshit in the future or we’ll be quite inclined to fine you for filing a false report” which then set the dean on a path to figure out how to best screw this student over to satisfy their ego.

Dan says:

If you check out the Millersville University site, they have a link for information about the lawsuit. All they say is that they base their decision on academic performance, not the personal webisite.

Not that they would admit it if they had, but I think that there is a lot more to this than what we hear/read.

Also, the university is a public, state university, so it would/should not base its decisions on what it considers moral behavior.

It is an interesting discusion though, as are all of them involving personal information available on the internet. If you wouldn’t post something on a billboard outside your home, don’t post it publicly on the internet. I just can’t understand why, in this day and age, people think that it is a good idea to go and use personally identifiable information.

Fortunatly, I am apparently the only person in the world with my name, so a search only turns up pages relating to me. Thus, I can easily see what’s out there and available. says:

You Go Girl...

First I ask the question:

Is drinking immoral if you are a photgraphed and posted online while wearing a pirate costume?

I feel the actions taken by the University are more immoral than the actions they sought to deter. In fact they are not just immoral they are libel. If I were this woman I would seek not only my proper degree but monetary compensation for defamation of character. The University by denying the award declared a public ATTACK on this ladies character by declaring her unfit for her degree. Begging the question… “What did this lady really do wrong… it couldn’t be just drinking?” If the university was seeking to avoid bad public impressions as a result of this photo they may have accomplished just the opposite. In fact if the university had not done this it could be argued that less than a few hundred people in the world would have ever laid eyes upon that photo. How many do you think have seen it now that it is connected to a universities public display of stupidity? Now mention the fact that it wouldn’t matter if she danced around in a g-string, with a pirate patch on her ya-ya, covered in boozes, on national TV. She is still legally entitled to her degree with all the rights, privileges, and honors thereunto appertaining.

Sanguine Dream says:

Oh dear...

I really hope this woman acutally failed some REAL requirement for graduation (like not enough credits, didn’t take a mandatory course, GPA too low…) because if that photo is the only reason they are denying her the diploma I really don’t see a lawsuit brought on by that woman turning out well for the university.

And frankly if she did sue and I were the judge the first question would be: “How does a picture of a person of legal drinking age constitute the encouragement of underage drinking?” Next would be, “So does this mean that never having your picture taken while drinking is now on you list of graduation requirements?”

techguy83 says:

From the smokinggun article on this:

According to that, this woman was an excellent teacher and had the required grades for this the entire time she was in school, even making that school’s Dean’s List. So it looks like she did meet the requirements.

Like many others, I hope that one picture is not what caused this and that something is missing from the story.

Here is the link from the smoking gun:

angry says:

As a future teacher and a college student i have found this whole situation to be a disgrace. I got a 4.0 this past semester because i did my school work. I also have a social life on the weekends. This women’s social life has nothing to do with how she will teach students unless it begins to interfere with teaching her future students. If the school is going to take away her degree because of a picture with a subtitle, maybe they should look a little harder at the rest of the students that attend that school. 9 out of 10 students probably party just as much if not more then this student. Should the majority of the students that attend that school loose their degrees? We pay the college for a degree in a job, not a degree on how to live our social life. Whoever took away this women’s degree is a hypocrite because they are liars if they say they never have never partied or held a drink in their hands while taking a picture. I know teachers now who go out and still have a good time. Promoting underage drinking? at 27? This student will win, and I hope she wins big time.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...