HBCU Student Not Allowed to Graduate Because of Facebook Post
Roman Caple is a senior at St. Augustine’s College. He was set to graduate this weekend until he was informed by the school that he wouldn’t be allowed to walk with his classmates. Caple says that his punishment was due to a Facebook post that allegedly "jeopardized the integrity of the college."
Caple argues that the reaction of school administrators came as a result of his posts following a tornado that hit Raleigh, NC two weeks ago. But he says that most of his comments were meant to be uplifting. One of his posts said the following:
"We all need to set our differences aside and help one another. Falcons we will continue to fly high because that’s what we do. Help your neighbor, if need be, Falcons are one."
According to what Caple said to ABC11, "Here’s the post that I believe they are referring to as to being putting this college in a negative light. It says ‘St. Augs is holding classes tomorrow and students in Falcrest still don’t have power. Like, wtf. Really? #dumb.’"
Caple is an active student who is a member of the school band and choir. He also played tennis for St. Augustine for the past three years. He’s even had the school’s logo shaved into his head, which is a surprising act of school spirit.
"I feel like it’s a personal issue that they have with me because as I said, if they’re basing it on my Facebook post, as you saw, there was nothing on there that was negative," he said. "In my opinion. In their opinion, it might be different, but they haven’t proven to me in anything in writing or anything that that’s the case."
Here’s what the school said in its statement about the incident: "As written in our Code of Conduct, Saint Augustine’s College students are expected to support the College’s mission. The College reserves the right to take appropriate actions when student conduct conflicts with the institutional mission."
Well, as a person who doesn’t attend St. Augustine College, let me officially say, on my own Facebook page that “Not letting a loyal student walk in graduation because he used his freedom of speech is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard this month.”
I am not sure if administrators at this alleged institution of higher learning somehow feel that stealing the freedoms of their students empowers the institution or helps its reputation. I personally would not allow my daughter or God kids to attend such a university. Mr. Caple’s academic standing has nothing to do with what he says about the school on his Facebook page, and the university should be embarrassed for attempting to assassinate a student’s freedom of thought in broad daylight.
There is nothing scholarly about punishing and suppressing free speech. All alumni of St. Augustine and concerned citizens should let this university know that this kind of unintelligent behavior is unacceptable. Even among HBCUs, which have a long list of backward administrative decisions, this is clearly one of the worst.