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Student Banned From Minnesota Campus Over Facebook Comments 806

Be careful just how you vent online is the lesson from this story pointed out by reader kungfugleek, from which he excerpts: "A University of Minnesota student has been banned from the Twin Cities campus after three of her instructors felt threatened by some of her Facebook postings. Amanda Tatro was patted down and questioned by campus police when she got to class Monday. The 29-year-old mortuary science student had posted comments on her Facebook page after breaking up with her boyfriend. She told her Facebook friends she wanted to stab a 'certain someone in the throat' with an embalming instrument. Tatro said she was 'looking forward to Monday's embalming therapy.' When the instructors learned of the postings, they contacted police." The Star-Tribune's account offers more detail.
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Student Banned From Minnesota Campus Over Facebook Comments

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  • My god. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#30461808)

    What the fuck is it that you american's live in such state of paranoia?

    Yes, I understand that you guys have had some gruesome stuff happen at schools and all, but some dark and frustrated writing on a wall is no threat at all. Man, if Nietzche or Sartre studied in today's america, or even burroughs or kerouac, they'd be behind bars by now.

    • Re:My god. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:29PM (#30462062)

      What the fuck is it that you american's live in such state of paranoia?

      Relentless public announcements that we should accept our neighbor and be considerate of each other's differences. It's to the point now where people can't even make self-deprecating comments about their own race or sex without being fired for being racist or sexist. Jokes have become illegal. We've made negative feelings essentially taboo -- you can't express anger, dissatisfaction, or anything but sunshine and kittens.

      The laws of thermodynamics also loosely apply to social problems: In this case, the rate at which negative emotions are created hasn't changed, but the available space they exist within has been constrained. This has led to a rise in pressure and temperature. Naturally, leaks develop, which result in high pressure discharges into the relative vaccum of positive emotions, which are suspiciously absent right now due to an economic turndown, a lack of socialization amongst our peers (due to the constant fear of them), and so yeah...

      We've made it illegal to cry tears, and so... some have started to cry bullets. I'm sorry to say, America -- but life is shit. We need to square with that and be honest. A few more fuck you's and honest brawls between people would do us all a lot of good. Yes, I'm advocating violence here -- because a few punches in the face is a lot easier to get over than a few bullets in the back.

      • Re:My god. (Score:5, Funny)

        by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:53PM (#30462580) Journal
        I am very interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
      • Re:My god. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by denton420 ( 1235028 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:01PM (#30462736)

        Holy shit. Said it way better than I ever could. Nail =>> head

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        anything but sunshine and kittens

        Your expression of delightful and joyful items is making those in the Northwest, British Isles, and recently kitten-less population unhappy. Please refrain from any further emotions or we will be forced to take action against you.

    • Re:My god. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:35PM (#30462194)

      What the fuck is it that you american's live in such state of paranoia?

      Better question: what the fuck is up with everyone else besides Americans assuming that one or two school officials in isolated incidents means ALL americans are paranoid? I'm not paranoid. Had I been a school administrator, I wouldn't have done shit about this. Maybe I would have e-mailed the dude and told him that no matter how cool his ex said she was, he should not come to her embalming class "just to practice."

      I happen to not be the administrator though.

      Some parents are irrational about school safety, but that's a universal. Every country has parents overreacting to isolated incidents. Japan is one of the safest countries, school children can ride the subways on their own many places. I remember hearing about a suicide at shinjuku subway station, and reading opinion articles by parents saying they were thinking about not letting their children ride the subway anymore because they might see someone commit suicide. Based on one incident. That's overreacting. These weren't American parents either.

      If americans are paranoid more than anyone else, it's about lawsuits. The administration in question was probably being overly cautious in this case not because they suspected the woman would do anything, but to cover their own ass on the extreme off chance that she did, they wouldn't want to get sued.

      Speaking as someone who has been sued for $300,000 for a skiing accident involving nothing more than a torn ACL, THAT fear isn't completely irrational.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alexborges ( 313924 )

        I apologize for the generalization. Its wrong on my part, as you justly point out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moridineas ( 213502 )

        I'm not paranoid. Had I been a school administrator, I wouldn't have done shit about this. Maybe I would have e-mailed the dude and told him that no matter how cool his ex said she was, he should not come to her embalming class "just to practice."

        You know, maybe the people who actually knew the woman were concerned because they actually knew the woman? As I said in a different post, nobody here knows the woman involved nor the teachers involved. But everybody is assuming that it is a stupid kneejerk response? Maybe the teachers believed based on past behavior that the woman was a threat?

  • by overlordofmu ( 1422163 ) <overlordofmu@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#30461810)
    I always make sure I am an anonymous coward (or at least have my facebook status to private) before I make my homicidal feelings known.

    By the way, I am gonna get all you suckers!!!!
  • by DotNM ( 737979 ) <matt.mattdean@ca> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#30461816) Homepage
    I think the question is if written comments like that should be construed as threats, or more like a journal where you'd just write for yourself. I'm also wondering if there's any other evidence that anyone on campus was targetted. The ban should have been lifted after the full story was found out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      See, this is just a matter of weeding out the less fit. You don't say "I am going to kill you". You say something along the lines of "You are going to die". The first one is pretty clear on your intentions. The latter can be a "misunderstanding" when things like this happen:

      "No sir. I had no intentions of killing this person. I was just stating fact that they were going to die. After all, we all are! There was just some miscommunication, that's all!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WCguru42 ( 1268530 )

      ... or more like a journal where you'd just write for yourself.

      Then get a damned journal. No matter how much people want Facebook to be their own personal and private journal, it is not and never will be. You can expect to have a fairly high degree of privacy with a paper journal (keep it in your nightstand, lock it away in your desk). Facebook (and the internet as a whole) is a public place and expecting your violent venting not to be seen when you post it on Facebook is simply delusional. Even writings in a private journal can come back to bite you if the police

  • stupid (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#30461820)

    Morticians have a morbid sense of humor? SAY IT AIN'T SO! *face palm*

  • Silly. (Score:5, Funny)

    by TaggartAleslayer ( 840739 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#30461832)

    This whole thing makes me want to beat someone in the face with a keyboard. I'm looking forward to Tomorrow's "development therapy".

    No, I actually mean I'm going to qwerty some bitches foreheads here. Sorry for any confusion.

    • Re:Silly. (Score:4, Funny)

      by TheCreeep ( 794716 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:43PM (#30462390)
      Don't you mean you're" going to ytrewq some bitches foreheads"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by langelgjm ( 860756 )

      No, I actually mean I'm going to qwerty some bitches foreheads here. Sorry for any confusion.

      See, if you had said you were going to dvorak some bitches, then the authorities would have known you must be maladjusted and unstable.

      What's that noise? Oh, I'm just tapping my keyboard. Aoeu, aoeu, aoeu...

  • Modern times (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#30461850)
    A society that expects a group of people to judge the actions of other people, but is too large to allow these people to know each other well enough to be able to make such judgement combined with an increasing amount of private information being publicly communicated = recipe for trouble.
  • never a good plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#30461860)
    threatening to kill someone publicly is never a good idea.
  • by Kyrene ( 624175 ) * on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#30461866)
    Yes, she was upset and "venting" but what you put on the Net stays on the Net. I always treat EVERYTHING I post online as public and manage my words with care, as they may come to haunt me someday. It's a shame. What she needed was to be forced to attend counseling, not have her entire college career ruined. But maybe people will learn from her mistake.
  • Crazy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:21PM (#30461904) Journal

    So, the Professors were deathly afraid of her morbid comments, which lead to her to be terminated as a student. I don't think she should have undertaken her commenting to that level. I just wish that the professors would just bury the hatchet and let her rest in peace.

  • by Deosyne ( 92713 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:24PM (#30461956)

    "For whatever reason, this professor took it personally."

    Hrm, was it the part about stabbing, "a certain someone in the throat with a trocar," or maybe the part about spending, "the evening updating my 'Death List #5' and making friends with the crematory guy," all in the context of, "looking forward to Monday's embalming therapy?" And yet the dumb bitch actually doesn't get it. Being pissy is one thing, making very specific public remarks about killing someone and disposing of the body, on the other hand, pretty much guarantees a visit by the po-po, and not to pat you on your angsty little head and tell you it's going to be OK.

  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:27PM (#30462010)

    Consider this one to grow on, Amanda. Don't publicly threaten to stab others in the throat with an embalming knife. It makes people nervous.

    According to the article, the Ms. Tatro complained that for whatever reason, the professor was "taking it personally". Excuse me? She was talking very explicitly about her "Death List #5" and what exactly she would do with her very sharp instrument the following Monday in class.

    How is a professor to know who is "just ranting" and who might be mentally unbalanced? I say, a prudent move by the prof.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:29PM (#30462050)

    And I do believe I was a minor during that childhood. If someone said it on the net it has to be taken seriously. I'm holding my breath waiting for the police to take Mr. Lucas into custody or, at the very least, Chris Hansen to ask him to have a seat.

  • Look... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AdamTrace ( 255409 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:38PM (#30462266)

    If she actually DID the kill the poor sap, and we find out that she posted about it beforehand on her FB page, everyone would be up in arms... "Why didn't someone do something about it? This could have been prevented!"

    We can't have it both ways.

  • by jameskojiro ( 705701 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @03:51PM (#30462540) Journal

    This is why I only post pictures of LOLCats on any social network I am part of.

    She just needed to post a pic of a kitten in the morgue with the caption "I am in yur Morgue, stabbing yur throt!"

  • Mortuary student (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:06PM (#30462846)

    The mortuary industry is very, very, very conservative. They take a dim view on anything that could tarnish their reputation. If it was any other industry, I would find this a ridiculous over reaction.

  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:16PM (#30463042)

    From the actual news piece, I doubt the instructors actually feared for their own safety, at least, I hope not.

    From an instructor's perspective (in physics), it's not cool to joke about using lab equipment in dangerous ways because I am not your friend, I do not know that you are joking, and I am assuming responsibility for you while you're in my class. I don't want you to hurt yourself (what I really worry about), particularly under my supervision. I have sent students home who were too immature to handle dangerous lab equipment (high voltage power supplies, radioactive materials... no one has done anything dangerous with the blocks on an inclined plane--no one has tried), I have not had anyone I felt was too depressed or angry (yet). I hope I would make make such a student take a visit to a school counselor before going to the police!

  • by earlymon ( 1116185 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:17PM (#30463046) Homepage Journal

    As anyone here ever subject to a break-up can attest, the ex will always want to kill you, certainly at least for the first week.

    (Regardless of cause, or who did or said what, or who initiated it - and regardless that this is /. and I must be new here.)

    So, today's lesson is simple - always date girls attending school in Minnesota.

    The negative press she'll receive after her tirade will have you mercy-dating as the good guy in no time!

    As Homer likes to say - SWISH!

  • Oh come on (Score:3, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @05:07PM (#30463864) Homepage Journal

    she is studying mortuary science; Of course her posts are dark.

    What next? Man studying at clown school thrown out because his facebook posts were too evil?

  • by savi ( 142689 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @05:16PM (#30464022)

    I work in education. If I had a student say they were looking forward to killing someone in my class, I'd be concerned. And if they DID kill someone in my class, everyone would be posting here saying, "Jeez, didn't you all see the clear signs posted on the internet? Why didn't anyone do anything?"

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.