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Harry Vincent, Texas Christian University

August 2015
Texas Christian University (Private college or university)
Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Identity of Speakers

  • Harry Vincent
    Student
    Other

    Harry Vincent was a student at Texas Christian University.

Resources

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Social media
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration not protective of speech
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • No protest Occured
  • Was Speech Code incident

Summary

Harry Vincent, at the time of this incident, was a 19-year-old student at Texas Christian University. In 2015, Vincent, who is politically conservative, got into a Twitter fight with a Maryland woman with liberal political views. During the course of the twitter fight, Vincent wrote six tweets that criticized Islam, used derogatory terms for Mexicans, and referred to “hoodrat criminals” in Baltimore. These tweets prompted the Maryland woman to urge her Twitter followers to contact TCU to complain about Vincent’s tweets. In response to these complaints, TCU put Vincent on probation and banned him from most campus activities. Vincent denied that he intended the tweets to be racial. After the incident, Vincent’s family and an advocacy group attempted to pressure TCU into reversing its disciplinary action against Vincent, and Vincent’s family also contemplated suing the school. Holly Ellman, a spokesperson for the university, pointed to the school’s Code of Student Conduct as the basis for disciplinary action against Vincent. TCU provided a written statement that said that the University’s mission “is to educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community,” and that “[w]e are always disappointed when any member of our community fails to behave in a way that aligns with our mission.” Vincent, in his own defense, also appealed to the school’s stated values, including “personal freedom” and a “heritage of tolerance.” According to Vincent, this personal freedom should protect his ability to voice his political opinions. After Vincent was informed that he could potentially be expelled, he wrote an apology. But he also appealed the disciplinary action. His appeal acknowledged his responsibility for the tweets but argued that his punishment was disproportionate and inconsistent with student handbook procedures. He argued that he was never given an explanation from school officials how his tweets violated the school’s Code of Student Conduct.