Craig Keefe sues after being expelled from MnSCU school for "stupid bitch" Facebook post

Craig Keefe's private Facebook posts got him expelled from school.
Craig Keefe's private Facebook posts got him expelled from school.

Late last fall, Craig Keefe, a student at Brainerd's Central Lakes College, published a Facebook post using the term "stupid bitch" and another about there "not being enough whiskey for anger management."

SEE ALSO: Keith Ellison on freedom of speech: "It's a good and bad thing" [INTERVIEW]

A few weeks later, Keefe was called into a meeting with Central Lakes College officials and told he was being expelled from school. Keefe had been studying at Central Lakes for more than three years and was just months away from completing a program to become a registered nurse.

Now, with the help of Jordan Kushner -- the same lawyer who was harassed by Target Center security during an anti-Israeli government protest at a Timberwolves game last fall -- Keefe has filed a federal lawsuit. He's demanding to be reinstated in school and is also seeking damages.

"There's just such a huge, glaring absence of due process and a violation of his free-speech rights," Kushner told the Pioneer Press. "It seems obvious that Facebook is his business."

More from the PiPress:

Kushner said administrators never showed the offending posts to Keefe, nor did they tell him specifically what he is alleged to have done wrong. "He really doesn't know. That's a big basis for the lawsuit," Kushner said. "It's a public institution. You're entitled to due process before any type of significant action is taken against you. You deserve to know what the charges are and the chance to be heard."...

The suit accuses the defendants 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.

"That's another issue here," Kushner said of how the officials got the Facebook posts. "These are not posts that are open to the public. Apparently, a student complained, and they would not tell him how they got into his Facebook page."

The lawyer said it was possible other students provided administrators with the Facebook pages, "but we don't know. They wouldn't tell him.

"They haven't been straight with him about anything in this," he said.

While the case seems awfully similar to the Amanda Tatro case on first blush, there's a significant difference. Tatro's controversial Facebook posts specifically had to do with the mortuary science program she was participating in, while Keefe's had nothing to do with Central Lakes College, which is part of the MnSCU system. Last summer, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the University of Minnesota "may regulate student speech on Facebook that violates established professional conduct strategies" in an opinion that upheld the school's suspension of Tatro for her Facebook posts. She was found dead just days later.

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