Students all over the country are being rejected from colleges, are having their offers revoked, and being expelled from college based upon their inappropriate social media posts. The latest is a University of Alabama student, Harley Barber who was recently expelled based upon her use of the N-word multiple times on her so called “FINSTA” or fake Instagram account.
Ms. Barber’s comments and behavior were highly offensive to many people, including myself, and she she was first kicked out of her sorority because of them. Her sorority is a private institution so they have more flexibility to terminate members for their speech. The University of Alabama is a public institution and as such it must follow the First Amendment. Therefore, her expulsion based upon her racist Instagram appears to violate her First Amendment rights.
Ms. Barber’s troubling statements and behavior will tar her forever. Whenever another college or an employer searches her name online they will be able to read about this incident. This has life long repercussions.
The bottom line is that students and others need to learn that online posts will follow them forever and that colleges, employers, insurance companies, lawyers, governments, etc will utilize them to justify disciplinary actions. Each post, “Like”, emoji, LOL may become digital baggage or dirt that cannot be easily deleted.