Campus Free Speech

Student Expelled for Tweeting '#Psycho,' Kansas Bureaucrats Cite Title IX

Obscure interpretation of federal law vs. the First Amendment.

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Psycho
Dreamstime

A University of Kansas student was expelled for calling his ex-girlfriend a "psycho bitch" on Twitter. The tweet, which did not mention the woman by the name—and was not visible to her—is disallowed under Title IX, KU has argued.

The matter is now before the Kansas Court of Appeals. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have filed briefs in support of the former student, Navid Yeasin. According to FIRE:

The widespread abuse of harassment policies under the banner of Title IX enforcement signals to students and faculty that colleges and universities are no longer safe for free speech. The misapplication of Title IX and other anti-harassment statutes affects the speakers directly and also chills other would-be speakers by signaling that engaging in controversial, dissenting, unpopular, or merely inconvenient expression may lead to investigation and discipline. In an atmosphere where students and faculty do not feel free to express and debate different views, ideas, and opinions, the creation and development of knowledge will grind to a halt, to the detriment of not only the university community but also society as a whole.

After a dispute between Yeasin and his ex-girlfriend—who was also a student—KU imposed a no-contact order on him. KU then accused him of violating that order by tweeting "psycho bitch" and "#psycho," even though the tweets did not identify his ex-girlfriend as the target of these insults. He was eventually expelled. A county judge ruled in favor of Yeasin last November, but KU appealed the decision.

At the Court of Appeals hearing on Tuesday, KU attorney Sara Trower argued that Yeasin's tweets were designed to alienate his ex-girlfriend and created a hostile environment for her in violation of Title IX. According to KCTV:

Judge Stephen Hill's interrogation began Tuesday soon after KU's attorney, Sara Trower, began speaking.

"Why isn't that prior restraint of speech?" he asked. "You can't talk about anybody, isn't that right? Isn't that what you're saying?"

Trower responded that the school is saying "you can't persist by retaliating and harassing her, seeking to alienate her."

The university also argued that Yeasin's action violated Title IX of federal law by creating a hostile educational environment for his ex-girlfriend. His off-campus actions created an on-campus hostile environment, Trower said.

Yeasin's attorney countered that KU was assuming "world-wide jurisdiction" by policing speech outside the university campus.

It seems likely that Yeasin will win his case and be able to re-enroll at KU in the fall, and that's a good thing. Still, this was quite an ordeal for the young man; his entire life was put on hold for more than year because he said something mean. That's it. If the standard of offensive conduct is this low, any student who sends a similar tweet—perhaps complaining about a particularly difficult professor, or loud roommate, or unpleasant cafeteria worker—could find himself in a similar situation.

Time and time again, we see Title IX being used as a weapon to smash free expression at university campuses. Administrators cannot—and should not—interpret the law in such a manner. Perhaps Congress, or the courts, can remind the federal bureaucrats in the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights that the First Amendment trumps overly-broad government anti-harassment dictates.

In related, more encouraging campus free speech news, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed a law prohibiting universities from restricting student activity to designated free speech zones.

NEXT: New Harper Lee Book Has Parents Reconsidering the Wisdom of Naming a Kid 'Atticus'

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  1. “In related, more encouraging campus free speech news, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed a law prohibiting universities from restricting student activity to designated free speech zones.”
    That is all well and good, but universities won’t have to do anything the state says if they can look at Federal regulations that, in their minds, justify whatever they want to do.

    1. That’s true from the university’s standpoint, but I welcome the potential standoff between the state and the feds, at least if the state has the balls to enforce its own law.

      1. No one is simply allowed to go around “saying something mean” in a strong nation of ordered liberty such as ours. The worst of these youngsters are the ones who engage in excessively deadpan (and hence triggering) parody or satire. Just as long as we make sure that all such rubbish is eradicated from our campuses, we can hope to continue building a safer, limper, more honest America. See the documentation of our leading criminal satire case at:

        http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. Amazing. I’m amazed at this libertarian moment we’re having.

    1. Hmm. That may very well be an offensive comment.

      1. #offensive.

        1. *** dials Title IX hotline ***

    2. I’m amazed at this libertarian moment we’re having.

      It’s part of this year’s leap second. Be sure not to miss it!

    3. I get it – government drones disregard libertarian ideas, so libertarian ideas cant be popular. Wait, what?

    4. #totalitarianmoment

  3. At the Court of Appeals hearing on Tuesday, KU attorney Sara Trower argued that Yeasin’s tweets were designed to alienate his ex-girlfriend and created a hostile environment for her in violation of Title IX.

    Well god forbid you do that to an ex!

    1. You psycho bitch!

      #theworst

      1. Curious, if she had a sex change, would that make her… the wurst?

        I’m proud of that one.

  4. How does the school prove that the tweets were about his ex? And it’s more baffling to me just how much effort the school is willing to put into this. They lost in court and could just say oh well, but appealed. This is high school level bullshit.

    1. Of course it’s high school level bullshit. It’s actually practically grade school bullshit. When you make shit as immature and childish as possible, who will rise to the fore? The most childish and immature people possible. No one normal wants to have a job where a big part of it is “managing” he-said-she-said juvenile squabbles. So of course, the last people you want anywhere near that go straight for it.

    2. How does the school prove that the tweets were about his ex?

      Either they’ve positively affirmed that she’s THE psycho bitch or you’ve crapped on Yeasin for dating more than one psycho bitch. I can’t decide. So, according to Title IX, you’re all guilty.

      Except any actual psycho bitch(es). We’re to do our best to present a non-hostile environment and otherwise accommodate them.

    3. I’d like to see the no-contact order that was the original pretext for this additional punishment.

      If all he did was tweeter some stuff, that seems highly unlikely to violate any kind of no-contact order.

      1. True, but he does have a penis, so he’s gotta be guilty of something.

  5. Robby, you’re a pustulent fuckhead.

    (where’s my lawyer?)

  6. Whatever happened to “sticks and stones…”?

    1. It’s quite simple. These people don’t believe that old saying is correct. They literally believe words can hurt you. I remember seeing a poster in my doctor’s office many years ago saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, and names can indeed hurt’ (it was part of an anti-bullying campaign, I think).

      1. The pussification of America.

        1. Bubba the Love Sponge is sarcasmic???

          1. I was channeling the ghost of George Carlin.

      2. Words have serious consequences cocksucker. Now step aside or else I will knock you with one swing of my cock.

        1. if one is a cocksucker, would one not be afraid of a swinging cock? I mean, wouldn’t it be right up one’s alley?

          1. One would think.

            But these are not thinking times.

          2. Wait – up one’s alley? I think that’s the wrong orifice.

      3. Well, the reality is that words can hurt very deeply, especially for a child. That doesn’t mean government should be enforcing it, but just because some government institution overreached doesn’t mean we should be excusing indefensible behavior.

        1. It’s the job of parents to train their kids to have some skin and to ignore those who would coddle them.

          At least that’s what I’m trying to do with my kid.

          1. Agreed. I’m doing the same. But I’m also teaching them to be nice to people and generally civil. I don’t think it’s too much to expect other parents to do the same.

            1. “Agreed. I’m doing the same. But I’m also teaching them to be nice to people and generally civil. I don’t think it’s too much to expect other parents to do the same.”

              This is where you are wrong, and not a little wrong but way, way, way wrong. Why would parents be teaching their kids to respect others when they don’t have any respect for others. There is no respect these days everyone is too self-centered to care. Adults don’t respect anyone, kids don’t respect anyone (especially their parents), government doesn’t respect the people, etc. etc.

              A little respect would go a long way in making things way better in this country (and repealing 75% of the laws). But both are pipe dreams.

              1. Project much?

            2. But I’m also teaching them to be nice to people and generally civil. I don’t think it’s too much to expect other parents to do the same.

              I missed the part where sticking your nose in people’s personal business, quoting their semi-private conversations without *any* real context, and then punishing them with byzantine and non-applicable rules was civil.

              If that’s the case, I’m proud to be teaching my kids to be brutes, cads, and outright villains. I’m sure you can be shocked when they tell you what they think of your general civility to your face.

              Seriously, lots of us consider offensive tweets to be civil and even professional in plenty of situations. “You worry about you.” is a civility plenty more people could stand to learn.

              1. Jesus H. Start from my first post for some context before you spout off.

      4. I was never hurt by a bully that only called me names. The ones that threw stick and stones and fists at me were the ones that hurt me.

  7. So I’m sure they would do the same if the genders were reversed, right?

    /”equality”

    1. Ask Paul Nungesser

    2. Screw that noise. There are plenty of cases to argue about double standards, but this isn’t one of them. This is purely and simply an issue of prior restraint and how broadly colleges may apply Title IX.

      1. It most definitely is one of them. No university would ever expel a female student for doing something comparable. If they did, ironically, the university would likely face Title IX sanctions for sexism against women. It most definitely is a double standard here.

    1. I always thought (and still do) that Puddle of Mudd’s lead singer looks like Kevin Pereira from Attack of the Show! and other G4TV shows. I miss that show 🙁

        1. *Bailey*

        2. You got yours, I’ll take mine. But yes, that show was amazing.

          1. Why can’t we have both?

            /Reeses

          2. I think she looked better before surgery.

            http://surgerystars.com/sara-j…..c-surgery/

  8. designated free speech zones

    I still cannot understand how this is a legal thing. “Designated *hate* speech zones”, sure; but *free* speech zones — nah.

    1. It is awfully Orwellian, isn’t it?

      1. Especially if they put limits on the speech.

  9. KU imposed a no-contact order on him

    Via the legitimate legal system, right?? Because I don’t see where these schools are getting all this power all of a sudden.

    1. Exactly. “*Farting* isn’t ‘contact’!”

      1. Here’s a jurisprudence question: if a psycho bitch’s ex-boyfriend farts in private, can she now claim that the fart was intended to create a hostile environment and therefore have him expelled under title IX? I mean, we have to be extra sure the environment is safe from malevolently exuded methane, right?

    2. Wait, there’s a legitimate legal system now?

      1. Yeah, it’s “us”. Or something.

        1. Ah, the pitchfork-wielding mob.

          1. +1 ironically accurate

  10. I forget who said this the other day, but tinfoil hat says this is really just a trial run of what the progs want to do to our legal system. They just don’t have the power to (yet), so they are doing it where they can.

    1. It’s important to set the “new normal” in their formative years.

    2. Well, the civil system is already a lot like that. I maintain some hope that the criminal system will remain a bit better. I think most people manage to figure out the value of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      1. The criminal system that sends tens of thousands of people a year to concrete boxes for possession of unapproved chemicals? Or the one that is much more likely to convict/kill a person with dark skin than a person with light skin?

        1. Of course there are huge problems. Some, like putting peopel in cells for drugs are problems with the law more than the system.

          All I am saying is that it is not yet fucked up in the same ways as college disciplionary systems where they have simply done away with the whole concept of burden of proof and due process. At least the criminal system still has those things on paper.

    3. You don’t need tinfoil for that. Of course the point is to set the new normal amongst the Great and Good who will then become Lords Over Filthy Crowds and implement this everywhere.

    4. this is already the case in the business world, if you say something bad about someone it can haunt you. this is why when people who give former employers as a reference the former employer will often give a non, read PC answer.

    5. It’s literally frightening to think about how tomorrow’s law professors and SCOTUS justices will have come of age on university campuses where this is nothing out of the ordinary.

      1. This is the new normal.

  11. Good ‘ol Title IX: the Commerce Clause of craven college admins everywhere.

  12. It seems to me that before punishing the dude for his comments that they should try to determine whether the girl is in fact a psycho bitch. She may well be that and if so, saying so is merely stating facts.

    1. I remember a while ago I was called into the office for allegedly calling a coworker a “dyke.” The allegation was false. I called her a “lesbian midget.” As I explained to the managers, she made it no secret that she is a lesbian, and she’s barely four and a half feet tall. So I was simply making a statement of fact. The managers valiantly kept straight faces throughout the conversation before letting me go back to work, though I suspect by how their mouths were writhing that they erupted into laughter as soon as the office door was closed.

    2. Oh, Zeb.

      You’re so cute with your send of fairness and responsibility.

  13. “Why isn’t that prior restraint of speech?” he asked. “You can’t talk about anybody, isn’t that right? Isn’t that what you’re saying?”

    Trower responded that the school is saying “you can’t persist by retaliating and harassing her, seeking to alienate her.”

    Way to beg the question, Sara. And way to make Judge Hill’s point.

  14. Is there anything a woman can say about a man that would cause this type of reaction? There’s a growing list of words men can’t use in regard to women, but it’s OK for them to call us literally anything they want with impunity. How’s that square with Title IX?

    1. Leftist Lady Justice wears no blindfold. Who committed the act matters as much if not more than the act itself.

      1. The SJWs behind this kind of travesty are worse than those who supported the patriarchy that once denied opportunities and justice for women. People in the past went along because that’s how it had always been. But the SJWs know that it’s wrong to treat someone differently because of how they were born, but they do it anyway as a form of payback and retribution. They’ve created a profoundly unfair system, are proud of it, and are no different than the male chauvinists they claim to rebuke. Utterly despicable and amoral creatures…

        1. But the SJWs know that it’s wrong to treat someone differently because of how they were born…

          But, but, but they’re just righting past wrongs! They’re making things equal and fair! They’re fighting the patriarchy! Their intentions are pure!

          Yeah, you’re right. They’re evil.

          1. ‘Social Justice’ means that people who never did anything wrong get punished while those who never suffered are rewarded. Other than the players, how is that any different than our unfair and unequal past? The lack of self-awareness truly indicates mental illness. There’s no other explanation.

            1. You’re applying reason and logic. They don’t. They just feel. They react. They don’t respond, because that involves thinking. They emote. So even if they’re inconsistent, they don’t feel inconsistent. That requires thought. The only time they think is when they use fallacious reasoning to justify their feelings. Unfortunately, lots of people operate that way. Thinking is hard, and the results can feel unpleasant. It’s much easier to just operate on emotion alone because it feels good.

              1. I still don’t get it. Personally, I wouldn’t FEEL right if the group I belonged to had an unfair advantage (a real advantage, not make-believe ‘white privilege’) that enabled me to get ahead of those who don’t. I mean, how could I FEEL good about my accomplishments knowing I didn’t truly deserve them? No, I just want to be treated the same (no better and no worse) and have the same opportunities as everyone else. But since I was born a white male, that’s just a pipe dream. The deck is stacked against us, but that’s OK…just because.

                1. They don’t feel that they have an advantage. They feel that they’re starting off with a disadvantage, and that these policies create an “equal playing field.”

                2. I wouldn’t FEEL right if …

                  if, a conditional logic statement.

                  WHAT PART OF NO USING REASON OR LOGIC DONT YOU UNDERSTAND?!

            2. Nah, it has nothing to do with the past, except that these sort of grievances are useful for wrangling idiots, like racism and antisemitism in the past. It has to do with the future — uniting people under marxists through a common enemy, incidentally that enemy being the demographic least receptive to marxism.

        2. That’s because they ARE male chauvinists.

          It’s not like academia and other bastions of leftist ideology are all run by women.

    2. You have to ask?

      https://reason.com/blog/2015/06…..or-rape-bu

      1. Ugh…I’d forgotten (or suppressed) that story since it is so over-the-top ludicrous. I can’t believe adults who are in charge of running an university could make such logic-defying decisions.

  15. She seems like a reasonable lass.

    1. My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo
      I wanna sink her with my pink torpedo….

    2. Wow, you have REASON and ASS in one short sentence! And if you say it quick, it sounds like “reasonable ass”.

  16. Libertarian moment!

  17. http://www.justice.gov/crt/abo…..ixstat.php

    The word “hostile” does not appear; therefore, any argument presupposing a prohibition of a hostile educational environment must be rejected.

  18. http://www.justice.gov/crt/abo…..ixstat.php

    The word “hostile” does not appear; therefore, any argument presupposing a prohibition of a hostile educational environment must be rejected.

    1. In fact, it does not appear twice!

  19. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will cause me grievous and ongoing harm by causing me to question my worth as a person and making me to feel unsafe and un-empowered.

    Perhaps as part of the discovery, he should have insisted that the ex undergo a psych exam to determine if she was indeed “psycho”. I’m uncertain what might meet a legal standard for “bitch”…

  20. Have girlfriends tried not being psycho bitches?

    1. I don’t know, have you?

      1. For most dudes seeking girlfriends, the rule = “smart, sexy, sane. Pick 2.”

        For chicks seeking boyfriends, it’s basically: “attractive, faithful, successful. Pick 2.”

    2. It’s fine, guys, this Yeasin punk totally had it coming for using two of the forbidden words in reference to his ex. He should have gone through the proper channels to express his discontent, like having his ex expelled through a Title IX complaint.

  21. We should start collecting names and start a Woodchipper Hall of Fame database/website.

  22. The proggies pushed so hard to get Title IX I can’t help but believe that this is exactly the result they want; the destruction of rule of law.

  23. The race toward peak derp accelerates.

    1. Every step takes you half way there.

      1. Zeno’s Paradox of peak derpitude? Every step is more absurd than the last, but we’re only ever asymptotically close to the peak.

        1. [insert calculus joke here]

        2. No, Achilles eventually caught up with and passed the turtle. Peak derp is unreachable.

      2. I pictured that happening REAL FAST – mind. blown.

        1. Start fast then rapidly slow down then move furiously without appearing to go anywhere.

  24. KU imposed a no-contact order on him. KU then accused him of violating that order by tweeting “psycho bitch” and “#psycho,” even though the tweets did not identify his ex-girlfriend as the target of these insults.

    Serious question: Would KU have accused him of violating the order had he tweeted “loving forever” and “#beautiful”?

    1. Yes, because he would be objectifying her, and that’s bad–except when it’s not.

    2. Since it sounds a bit stalkerish, probably. And since he’d be a colossal mangina for doing so, I wouldn’t fault the school.

  25. KU – you so psycho cray!

  26. OT: Lululemon Diaries: My Life in an Exploitative Libertarian Happiness Cult

    Ayn Rand is mentioned twice in article filled with yoga theory, sanskrit, cultish behavior, and general bitching from a ex-employee. Of course, it’s all the libertarians’ fault.

    Everything in the Lululemon corporate culture is based on a bastardized version of yoga: the employee regulations book is called “Pramana,” which is a word that roughly translates to knowledge in Sanskrit. Ironically, Pramana really means true knowledge you gain from experience, not just what people tell you. The theft guide is called “Asteya,” which means “non-stealing”?an ethical guideline from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. That’s typical Lululemon for you; they co-opt something from yoga and warp it until it loses its true meaning. We once made a shopper that spelled out the Sanskrit word Brahmacharya (virtue) in drugs, junk food and hypodermic needles. The company is so disproportionately tone-deaf it’s astounding. They mean to be relevant, and instead they manipulate good ideas until they become totally corrupt.

    Definitely libertarian.

    1. Ayn Rand is mentioned twice in article filled with yoga theory, sanskrit, cultish behavior, and general bitching from a ex-employee.

      Just skimming, you definitely gloss over some real cognitive disconnect gems with ‘general bitching from an ex-employee’;

      A guest once threatened he was going to shoot an educator and they made us pay for our own security guard that night out of our controllable budget.

    2. I just read that article. Fuck, I think I lost 20 IQ points just reading it. So she was 21, with loads of student loan debt. So she gets a job as an “educator” for a company run by somebody who is batshit crazy. Why do you have fucking student loan debt without getting a degree that could allow you to get started in a real career? I guess Feminist Marxist studies just doesn’t pay as well as it used to.
      Here’s a fucking idea: If it sucks so bad to work there, QUIT!!

      1. Here’s a fucking idea: If it sucks so bad to work there, QUIT!!

        Somehow, I don’t think that would solve her problems.

  27. Wow, I think I just figured out SJWs. They all have a victim complex. I know a few personally, and they fit all of these features

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_mentality#Features

    Ex: Believing that other people are generally or fundamentally luckier and happier (“Why me?”).

    “Privilege” anyone?

    1. “self-absorbed: unable or reluctant to consider a situation from the point of view of other people or to “walk a mile in their shoes”.”

      I remember talking with a prog friend, and he was amazed that he found out his gay classmate was, gasp, a Republican. Couldn’t believe it, unable to fathom why. Like he must be crazy or something.

      When I asked him if he talked with him and found out his reasons why, he looked at me like I was crazy. Didn’t even want to entertain why his beliefs and preconceived notions may be wrong

    2. ‘Entitled’ is the best description. They think that just because they believe the ‘right’ way they should be entitled to all the things that hard-working, productive people enjoy. Plus an utter lack of empathy for those who don’t belong to a favored group.

  28. “Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed a law prohibiting universities from restricting student activity to designated free speech zones.”

    when will they sign a law prohibiting the designated free gun zones, unless free gun zone means their giving guns away?

  29. The lone comment on the KCTV site is apparently written by Trower, or one of her minions.

    “So basically he is trying to use the courts to authorize his continued harassment of his ex. The school has a responsibility to keep a physically and to some extent, emotionally safe environment for it’s students. He was the cause of the problem and refused to stop, despite repeated warnings. This idiot clearly violated school policy as well as laws on harassment. This has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with him wanting authorization to continue to be as big an **** as possible.”

    1. Which is funny, because the school is basically trying to use the courts to authorize their continued harassment of him, etc.

  30. Does this university not see the irony in the hostile educational environment they created for the guy when they attempt to kick him out for creating a hostile environment?

    1. We live in what these people call a ‘post-ironic’ age, so no.

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