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University student as public watchdog

We have assisted a student who was censored by Copenhagen University because of a satirical Facebook-post criticizing the university’s lack of pro-active policy against cheating at exams. The student, who is an appointed member of the Education Committee of his institute, at several occasions has brought the issue on the agenda. He found that the university, in spite of actual knowledge about the problem, didn’t take sufficient measures to monitor and stop the increasing cheating at (online) exams or exam tasks. Therefore, he decided to publish a critical post on Facebook in order to trigger the university to act and to create more awareness amongst students. The post was obviously provocative and satirical.

The student was requested by the head of administration to remove his post, he was suspended as a member of the Education Committee, and he was accused for breaking the university’s disciplinary code for students. Legal Human Academy wrote a legal opinion in support of the student, referring to the student’s right to freedom of expression and freedom of academic speech as protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. On the basis of our intervention and after a hearing in which we assisted the student, the university decided to stop the disciplinary procedure against the student and to reconfirm his membership in the Education Committee. The attempt to silence the student illustrates not only the university’s lack of broadmindedness and lack of humor, but especially the lack of awareness about the right of students to initiate or take part in debate on important issues for society

Published in News