Colorado College has suspended and banned a student from campus for nearly two years in response to a comment intended as a joke on the anonymous social media application Yik Yak.
In November 2015, Thaddeus Pryor sent an anonymous reply to the comment “#blackwomenmatter” on Yik Yak. Pryor’s response read, “They matter, they’re just not hot.” On November 20, Colorado College found that Pryor’s post violated its “Abusive Behavior” and “Disruption of College Activities” policies and suspended him from the college until August 28, 2017. In the meantime, the college has banned Pryor from setting foot on campus and has forbidden him from taking classes at other institutions for academic credit. Pryor has appealed his suspension.
In a letter sent on November 25, 2015, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) urged Colorado College, a private institution, to honor its moral and contractual obligation to keep the promises of freedom of expression that it makes to students. Colorado College’s Student Guide, The Pathfinder, provides that “all members of the college community have such basic rights as freedom of speech….”