TCU Student Punished Over Social Media Posts

UPDATE -8/5/2015 @ 5:08 p.m.: We have confirmed that Mr. Vincent has been reinstated by TCU and will be under disciplinary probation for one year. He must still complete the 60 hours of community service and the sensitivity training course.

Located just south-west of downtown Fort Worth sits Texas Christian University, a university long-known for it’s esteemed academics and diverse community. In fact, that is one of the reasons why Harry Vincent chose to go there.

“When I was looking for schools, I checked all of their mission and values statements. And TCU’s core value statement includes a ‘heritage of tolerance and personal freedom.'” Vincent said in an interview with OUTSET.

But in a letter dated April 29, 2015, Mr. Vincent found out that he had been put on academic suspension effective immediately. He is now on academic probation until he graduates in 2018, he is not allowed to live on campus, participate in campus activities, and would even be charged with trespassing if he were to step foot inside a campus residence hall. All he is allowed to do is attend classes, while paying the university’s full tuition.

The suspension came after a former classmate of his, Kelsey, posted a series of screenshots on her Tumblr of a number of Mr. Vincent’s tweets and Facebook statuses. In those tweets, he expressed his view on everything from the Baltimore riots to the spread of radical Islam and the Islamic State.

Her post on Tumblr generated over 2,000 notes and numerous emails to TCU’s Campus Life department. From there, the university investigated and charged Mr. Vincent with being in violation of two student conduct codes – one relating to “Infliction of Bodily or Emotional Harm” and the other about “Disorderly Conduct.”

Mr. Vincent eventually contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, who has now been assisting him with what he describes as a “very tough time.”

TCU sent an email out to their students on Thursday about the incident, although never mentioning Mr. Vincent by name. In the email, they said, “TCU is a university that proudly believes in its heritage of inclusiveness and tolerance. As a community of learners and leaders, we need to create space for respectful disagreement as we seek to understand each other’s views about societal issues.”

TCU sent out this email to their student body on Thursday, August 5.

TCU sent out this email to their student body on Thursday, August 5.

As this story has gained more and more media attention, it has been reported that a number of big-dollar alumni donors to TCU have withdrawn their financial pledges.

Mr. Vincent does not know if he will be successful in his fight to win reinstation, but remains confident. In the meantime, he has been placed on academic probation, must complete 60 hours of community service, attend an “Issues, Diversity, and Sensitivity” training. He was also forced to drop his involvement in his fraternity for the year.

But he also says that this is about more than having these charges dropped.

“I hope that TCU will learn  lesson from this and acknowledge that they made a mistake”

WATCH: Harry Vincent talks about TCU’s punishment of him.

About Stephen N. Perkins

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Stephen N. Perkins envisions a world where individuals are empowered to fulfill their God-given potential, collaborate with others, and take ownership in the well-being and success of their communities. He helps emerging leaders inspire others and influence change. Stephen founded OUTSET in 2014 and currently serves as the network's Editor-in-Chief. He primarily writes about civic and political engagement, education, media, and culture. He also hosts a self-titled podcast on which he speaks to young conservative leaders in activism, business, and media. In addition to OUTSET, Stephen is a communications specialist and leadership coach. Originally from Houston, Stephen now lives and works in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.