‘Drunken Pirate’ sues school that nixed degree – Education – MSNBC.com

I’ve warned people before about what you make public on Social Networking sites.  My own son removed his MySpace profile two years ago – when he was a sophomore, and his astute guidance counselor suggested he might not want to be “that public”. He didn’t have anything bad up there (I had seen the account) – but he decided to err on the side of caution.

I’m on at least 80 SNS’s (Social Networking Sites). And here on my own blog I post enough that employers might have concern with (read that as close-minded, old-world, opinionated, bigots :)).

In any case – this is getting to the level of bizarre.  The teacher did the work.  Earned the credits.  Earned the degree.

She was denied the degree because of a picture posted of her drinking.  Wow.  If, until they saw the picture, they had no concerns about her abilities to teach, then this is just plain wrong. 

I’m glad she is suing.  Eventually, I think, it will be illegal for employers/educational institutions to use content from personal web sites as the sole criteria for denying employment/degrees, etc.

It is already illegal to deny someone employment based on disability, age, race, marital status, etc. 

What if someone reads my blog and determines that I am a 65 year old pregnant, wheel-chair-bound, single, black female – could they use that information to deny me a position?  Not legally.  But they are basically doing the same thing with online profiles now – which is stupid, and short-sighted.  People tend to exaggerate on blogs and in Social Networking profiles (I know – can you believe it?).

Besides – isn’t what’s important here your job performance?  Are we to assume that someone will be a crappy teacher because they posted a silly picture with what they considered to be a funny caption?

I don’t like this trend for the same reason I don’t like pre-employment “physicals” (an excuse to test you for drugs and/or get a sample of your DNA).  It’s a predetermination of your guilt or innocent, ability or inability. 

Why can’t I give potential employer’s a lie detector test before I go to work with them?  They certainly are in a position to do more hard to me than I am to them (see Enron, WorldCom, etc).

It’s not just an invasion of our privacy – it’s an intrusion into our humanity.  It’s why big business is not an attractive place for me right now.  It’s why so many people are leaving big business in favor of small business – preferably ones they can run themselves. 

Any way you slice it, this is an intrusion of the corporate world into your private space, and it is wrong.

MILLERSVILLE, Pa. – A woman denied a teaching degree on the eve of graduation because of a MySpace photo has sued the university. Millersville University instead granted Stacy Snyder a degree in English last year after learning of her Web-published picture, which bore the caption Drunken Pirate. “I dreamed about being a teacher for a long time”, said Snyder, 27, who now works as a nanny.

Source: Drunken Pirate sues school that nixed degree – Education – MSNBC.com


  1. David Lind says:

    I cannot believe that a school did this to a graduating senior on the eve of graduation! It is tantamount to Orwell’s “1984” and Big Brother watching everything a person does.
    I recently convinced my 23-yo daughter to take down her Myspace account for this very reason. She is studying to become a teacher and did not need any perceived improper displays to infringe on her hard work.

    Hopefully, the ‘Drunken Pirate’ will prevail in her lawsuit and will properly receive her teaching degree.


  2. Last line sums it up I guess: Common Sense should be more common. What’s the relation between talking about taking a beer and teaching?

  3. Yuvi – yes, Google is your resume. But what would anyone take away from the first 50 results about me on Google? Vastly different sites I am linked to, comments on a ton of subjects, memberships in a lot of communities…

    That shouldn’t be a bad thing. But the evidence is growing that many comapnies look for one single thing they can use to exclude you – instead of taking your entire online “history” into account.

    This would be similar to not hiring Shakespeare as a writer because you personally disagreed with one of his lines.

    Businesses need to figure this out. And I am NOT advocating what one of my clients was doing – mandating that no employee does an Internet search on any prospective client, OR employee. That’s taking it to the extreem.

    Hopefully common sense will prevail. Hopefully common sense will become more common.


  4. Your name on Google is your Resume. Isn’t it?

    I’ll just wait and see how this plays out on me and my agemates.