Advanced

Cassie Conklin, Frostburg State University

From November 2020 to December 2020
Frostburg State University (Public college or university)
Frostburg, Maryland, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Cassie Conklin
    Student
    Other

    Cassie Conklin is a student at Frostburg State University and a reporter for the school newspaper, The Bottom Line.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other
  • Incident Responses:
    University investigation not issuing in sanctions
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

Cassie Conklin is a student at Frostburg State University and a reporter for the school newspaper, The Bottom Line. On October 30, 2020, Conklin wrote a story detailing a student’s experience with the university after testing positive for coronavirus. The story alleged that the university did little for the student despite knowing she lived in the campus dorms. Almost a month later, on November 20, The Baltimore Sun linked to the story. On November 23, university administrators summoned Conklin’s editor-in-chief and the newspaper’s faculty advisor to discuss Conklin allegedly harassing a university staff member a month prior.

The university claimed that Conklin placed a threatening note under the staff member’s door and requested that The Bottom Line punish Conklin. One day later, Conklin was summoned to a meeting with the vice president for student affairs, who told Conklin that she would be investigated as both a student and an employee of the newspaper, as she received a $75 stipend while writing stores for The Bottom Line.

On November 30, the university then told Conklin that there was no evidence that she violated Frostburg State’s student code of conduct, but did not indicate that it had dropped its investigation into Conklin as a newspaper employee. On December 14, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sent a letter to Frostburg President Ronald Nowacyk calling on him to immediately end the investigation into Conklin and “make clear that The Bottom Line, the university’s independent student newspaper, is not required to comply with any administrative directives.” On December 29, Campus Reform, a conservative watchdog group, reported that all formal investigations had concluded.