Law student’s admission is revoked over ‘racially offensive behavior’ on social media
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The Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law in Dallas announced on Twitter on Wednesday that it revoked the admission of an incoming student, “based on the student’s racially offensive behavior recorded on social media.”
The law school also said in its statement that the student’s behavior “contradicts the university’s core values—specifically, its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“Racism has no place on a campus that embraces respect for all SMU students, faculty and staff and equips its students to make a difference in the world.”
The law school did not release the student’s name or other details, and Law.com reports that the law school’s spokeswoman, Lynn Dempsey, said in an email that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act restricts the law school’s statements about students.
Law.com also reports that while Jennifer Collins, the dean, declined to comment on the decision, she recently wrote in a statement after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis that “as lawyers, we have a special obligation to demand that we do better and actively work together toward a more just and compassionate nation free of the discrimination and hatred that continues to plague this country.”
She added that “we cannot allow the fact we are not physically together at the moment to keep us from the critical work we must do to address injustice and protect marginalized communities—not only from acts of violence but also from the inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and its disparate impact on people of color.”
John Browning, an adjunct law professor at the school who teaches social media law, told Law.com that it isn’t rare for law students to engage in misbehavior online. He added that law students don’t always understand how that behavior can affect their future.
While Browning hadn’t seen the incoming student’s social media posts, he told Law.com that “if they were troubling enough for the school to consider it contrary to the core values, I think it’s the school’s right to do that. Being admitted to a professional or graduate program is not a matter of right. It’s a matter of privilege. It can be rescinded for any number of reasons.”