Nick Lutz is a student at University of Central Florida. His ex-girlfriend (not a UCF student) sent him a handwritten apology letter after what one can presume was a bad breakup. So, Lutz ‘graded’ the handwritten letter like a school paper, calling out his ex’s spelling, grammar, and syntax errors. He included feedback on the her handwriting. He then posted her letter–with his edits–to Twitter, where it went viral (over 121,000 retweets and over 337,000 likes).
In response to the tweet, UCF suspended Lutz for two semesters and put him on probation for violating their code of conduct. Lutz says that UCF’s suspension violates his First Amendment right to free speech.
The makings of Lutz’s First Amendment claim are unclear at this early stage, but the University’s interest in regulating Lutz’s speech would have to be broad since Lutz’s ex is not a UCF student (so they can’t really argue that the suspension is necessary to protect one of its students).
For now, Lutz is standing by his tweet, and he hasn’t deleted it. He is still going through the University’s appeal process. Meanwhile, Lutz’s ex-girlfriend filed a cyberbullying report with the local sheriff’s office, but as of yet, they haven’t filed any charges.
We’ll update you as we learn more.
UPDATE: UCF has cleared Nick of all charges.