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University of Central Oklahoma student says professor threatened to expel her over a blog post

A University of Central Oklahoma student says a faculty member threatened to have her expelled over a blog post in which she complained about “dim-witted, air-headed females.” Olanrewaju Suleiman wrote “An Open Letter to Obnoxious Girls: Stupidity Isn't Cute!” on Feb. 2.
by Silas Allen Published: March 22, 2013

An academic and classroom misconduct report shows Clark filed a complaint against Suleiman for disruption of class and intimidation.

Despite the fact that the complaint accuses Suleiman of being disruptive, Clark wrote on the form that she seemed withdrawn in class.

Suleiman said she didn't intend to disrupt class when she wrote the initial blog post.

She didn't mean to offend anyone, she said.

“I wasn't trying to be disrespectful to anyone,” she said. “It was all in good fun.”

Unexplored area of law

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the nonprofit Student Press Law Center, said Suleiman's case delves into an area of law that hasn't been fully explored.

Historically, what a student did off campus was generally out of the university's hands, as long as it was legal. But with the advent of blogging and social networking sites, things students write online can cause disruptions during class, LoMonte said.

For example, he said, if a student used an off-campus email address to send a bomb threat to the university, then the university would likely have jurisdiction no matter where the student was when the message was sent.

LoMonte said he doesn't think Suleiman's case rises to that level. If the blog post truly was causing disruption, he said, the situation could have been handled without invoking the university's disciplinary system.

“You'd really have to show that the student was provoking fistfights or was otherwise grinding the operations of the school to a halt, not just that the student hurt somebody's feelings,” he said. “That's to be resolved by a conversation, not by a threat of expulsion.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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