Advanced

Diei v. University of Tennessee Health Science Center

August 2020
University of Tennessee (Public college or university)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Kimberly Diei
    Student
    Other

    Kimberly Diei is a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's College of Pharmacy.

Resources

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Social media
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration not protective of speech
  • Incident Status:
    In litigation Federal District Court
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

Kimberly Diei is a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy. Diei’s behavior became the target of the school’s administration when she posted profane lyrics and a selfie of Diei wearing a top that exposed her cleavage to Twitter and Instagram. A first complaint in September 2019 led to a warning by the College of Pharmacy’s Professional Conduct Committee. A second complaint, in August 2020, resulted in Diei’s expulsion on the grounds that she violated the schools “Maintenance of Ethical of Professional Standards of the Health Professions” policy. According to this policy, health science center students can be disciplined for “unprofessional and unethical conduct” both on and off-campus.

Diei was reinstated to the college three weeks later after she appealed the expulsion to the college’s dean. On February 3, 2021, Diei filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, alleging that the university “is violating her constitutional rights by policing her personal, off-campus expression on social media.” This case is ongoing.