Snyder v. Millersville University, Civil No. 07-1660 (E.D. Pa. bench verdict Dec. 3, 2008).
Status: Bench verdict for defendants

Millersville University refused to grant a B.S. in education to plaintiff Stacey Snyder after college officials and the supervisors of her full-time student-teaching assignment discovered a photo on her MySpace page showing her dressed in costume and drinking from a plastic cup, labeled “Drunken Pirate." Based on this and prior poor evaluations of Synder’s conduct and knowledge, the student-teaching supervisors barred her from completing the program, causing the university to refuse to grant her a degree.

She sued to force the university to grant the degree, and on First Amendment grounds. But after a three-day bench trial, the judge ruled that any order forcing granting the degree would violate public policy, since such a degree would indicate that Snyder had successfully completed the program. On the First Amednment claim, he ruled that Synder’s sudent-teaching under the university’s auspices, while unpaid, essentially made her an employee of the university, who was protected on free speech grounds only for statements regarding public issues, which the MySpace posting was not.

Links and Court Documents:
Bench ruling:

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