Great…Now I Have To Defend ANOTHER Complete And Utter Jerk [Updated]

University of Central Florida student Nick Lutz set out to humiliate his ex-girlfriend after she sent him a letter (above)  apologizing after their breakup, so he graded it like a school paper, and instead of keeping the exchange private and between them as a responsible, decent, fair adult would, he tweeted it to the world, where predictably, since the Twitterverse is populated by a lot of people like Nick, it went viral, with hundreds of thousands of like-minded jerks “liking” it.

Nick is, at this stage of his life, a toxic creep without properly functioning ethics alarms. However, his school had no legitimate interest in this matter. Yet it placed him on two semesters of suspension and probation as punishment for this entirely non-school related conduct. (No, the badly treated ex- is not a student.) UCF sent Nick two letters, the first stating that he may have violated the law (no, he didn’t), while the second stated that he had violated the university’s student rules of conduct regarding disruption and cyber-bullying.

Baloney. Read the rules; I did.  Even though the rules are unenforceably broad, they wouldn’t apply to his conduct:

3. Disruptive Conduct

  • An act that impairs, interferes with, or obstructs the orderly conduct, processes, and functions of the University or any part thereof or the rights of one or more individuals. [Nope]
  • Any act which deliberately impedes or interferes with the normal flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  [Nope]
  • An act which tampers with the election(s) of any University student organization or group including major violations of the SGA Election Statutes. [Nope]
  • Misuse of any University safety equipment, firefighting equipment, or fire alarms. [Nope]
  • An act which deliberately interferes with the academic freedom or the freedom of speech of any member or guest of the University community. [Nope…that’s what the University is doing to NICK,,,]
  • A false report of an explosive or incendiary device, which constitutes a threat or bomb scare. [Nope]
  • Breach of peace: an act, which aids, abets, or procures another person to breach the peace on the University premises or at University sponsored/related functions. [Nope]
  • Failure to comply with oral or written instruction from duly authorized University officials (i.e. faculty, staff, administration, residence hall staff) acting within the scope of their job duties or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties, including failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so. [Nope]
  • Failure to produce identification upon request by a University official (i.e. faculty, staff, administration, residence hall staff), acting within the scope of their job duties or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties. [Nope]
  • Hindering or interfering with the Student Conduct Review Process by failing to obey the notice from a university official to appear for a student conduct meeting or hearing; and/or attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participating in, or use of, the Student Conduct Review Process. [Nope]

So much for “disruption.” Now let’s look at “Bullying”:

  • Bullying: defined as behavior of any sort (including communicative behavior) directed at another, that is severe, pervasive, or persistent, and is of a nature that would cause a reasonable person in the target’s position substantial emotional distress and undermine his or her ability to work, study, or participate in University life or regular activities, or which would place a reasonable person in fear of injury or death.

Riiiiight. Re-tweeting a letter with mocking commentary will cause the ex-girlfriend substantial emotional distress and undermine her ability to work, study, or participate in University life or regular activities. What is she, 13? If so, I’d say Nick has a bigger problem.

He hasn’t deleted the tweet, even though he shouldn’t have posted it in the first place. Good. Nick is fighting this abuse of power and for the right of every student to be a jackass on his or her own time. What’s next, punishing students for chewing with their mouths open, watching porn, not being “woke” or “liking” President Trump’s tweets?

You’re a nasty  son of a bitch, Nick, but Ethics Alarms is with you on this one. You have a right to a life, even a jerky life, without Big University Brother slapping you down.

UPDATE: I wondered if Nick’s tweet identified the woman; I didn’t dwell on it, because in my view, it wouldn’t change the analysis. Apparently the tweet did not identify her;still,  the woman first complained to the police, then to the school. I also didn’t cover the First Amendment issue: as a state school, the university couldn’t punish a tweet based on content. The Ethics Alarms point is that it is unethical for any college, state or not, to punish students for private, personal conduct unrelated to their studies or activities on campus.

The First Amendment problem, however, made the school’s suspension of Nick untenable. His appeal was upheld, and he was reinstated.


Pointer: Rick Jones


30 thoughts on “Great…Now I Have To Defend ANOTHER Complete And Utter Jerk [Updated]

  1. ‘Love is blind, and lovers cannot see,
    The pretty follies that they themselves commit’

    The Merchant of Venice – Act 2, Scene 6

  2. Sense of humor loss alert!

    I long for a return to the days when jerks were known only to their own small group. Knowledge of the sheer number of them is beyond depressing. They feed off of each other and never learn that they really are jerks. No self-examination and no change. Jerkiness even beyond campus fraternity jerkiness. I didn’t believe it was possible to get jerker than that. There is always the next escalation.

  3. Good analysis. Now can I say that he’s an awful proofreader?

    When does the statute of limitations end and we can tear apart her composition? Seriously though, if someone is going to do it, they need to do it correctly.

  4. One of my exes wrote me an 18 page handwritten manifesto when we mutually broke up a million years ago. I held on to it for several months, mostly to pat myself on the back for ridding myself of someone with obvious mental problems. There were a few moments when I considered using it to harm him professionally — he was not a nice man — but I concluded that it wouldn’t be ethical. I ended up throwing them away. He did reach out to me at some point asking for it back and was extremely relieved when I told him that it was destroyed. (I will admit that I did show it to 1 or 2 close girlfriends first. They were horrified.)

  5. I wrote a note to a girl, once, when I was in high school. I had had a crush on her, while she and one of my buddies (a teammate) were an item. We all hung out together; she and I got along well, but nothing ever happened; neither of us “took a step” or “made a move” on the other. (“Flames: meet Eeyore Moth.” Such is the foolishness of youth.) In my note, I confessed my crush, then told her that I liked things as they were, wanted to remain friends, and did not want to take any step toward coupling. She wrote a shorter note back, saying she was flattered, and that she agreed with me on keeping our friendship as it was. Months later, her “itemhood” a distant pain and my buddy coupled with another girl he later married, she wrote in my yearbook that she cherished the note and would be keeping it with her, close to herself, in her purse. (Like a typical teenaged nut, I had asked that she consider doing that, so that I could be close to her, and be available like a true friend, at a moment’s notice.) We went separate ways, only to re-connect decades later (I will not detail how). The friendship remains warm.

    Modern media are so enabling and encouraging of exhibitionism and other general, irresponsible lack of discretion and uninhibitedness! If I had done now what I did then, I and a couple of other people probably would have been publicly humiliated, losers of friendships, embittered, and permanently disincentivized from trusting others, no matter how trustworthy some others in our lives might be. There is no telling which of us would have caused that breach – the girl, me, or her boyfriend – but one of us very likely would have screwed up, and screwed up big-time, using my note. That’s just how young people roll these days. I’m not defending that, just lamenting it.

    I thought it was mostly hell, being young, when I was young.
    But I don’t envy today’s youth for their youthfulness, or for so much of what they have to cope with that wasn’t even dreamed about yet in my youth, but that now invades and pervades in their lives.

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