“Will someone please think of the children?”

Associated Press – April 28, 2007:

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.

The photo, taken at a 2005 Halloween party, shows Snyder wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic “Mr. Goodbar” cup. It was posted on her own MySpace site.

Although Snyder apologized, she learned the day before graduation that she would not be awarded an education degree or teaching certificate.

Jane S. Bray, dean of the School of Education, accused Snyder of promoting underage drinking, the suit states.

Can somebody explain how a picture of a drunk 25 year old promotes underage drinking?! And while you’re at it, explain why the frick she apologized!

Update: T.C. Moore found the school’s response here.

Millersville University denies the claims alleged in the federal complaint filed by Ms. Stacy Snyder. Although the University respects Ms. Snyder’s opinion, these allegations only provide a single perspective of this academic situation.

  1. james hatsis says:

    Reading #1 gives me a sense of deja vous….

  2. Erik Blazynski says:

    This is just a clever viral advertisement for Mr. Goodbar.. LOL

  3. Walter says:

    I hope she wins.

  4. I hope she does get it, whats wrong with having fun i your own time, i mean i’ve seen much much worse.. i live in Ireland!!!

  5. Ryan Dlugosz says:

    I wonder if we’re seeing the whole story here. I mean, surely the university knows that they’ve got some ground to stand on – otherwise they wouldn’t have blocked her graduation knowing full well that it’s going to end up on the news (or at least DU). If this is the whole story then it comes down to two things:

    1. This chick is somehow oblivious to the fact that anyone who wants to be a teacher these days is not allowed to have *any* social interaction on the internet. A google search for their name shouldn’t come up with any hits if they want to play safe… It’s a failing of the university’s program if they aren’t beating this into the edu students’ heads from day one.

    2. In general people in this country seem to pretend that nothing exists outside of their professional lives. There will be parents up in arms if they see an image of their teacher drinking or otherwise acting like a normal adult – even though they were all doing the same (and worse) but don’t talk about it. This will continue to get worse until the myspace generation eventually become the people in charge.

    Of course it’s silly, but what are you gonna do? There are politicians out there who tell you what you can and can’t see on TV and then solicit prostitutes in their personal lives. People hide/deny their private lives but the proliferation of the internet/digital cameras is making that harder to do… So much so that some feel comfortable revealing their private lives.

    Until its more common, those folks who aren’t hiding their real interests will be shunned. However, if you think about the things in the first comment, shouldn’t you be even more concerned about the people who *aren’t* open about what they’re really up to?

    The pothead nanny may not be for you, but at least she’s open about it to some extent. I don’t think you’ll get the same courtesy from the nanny who happens to be a child molester.

  6. John S says:

    Im not sure why a social party picture can ruin your career? No if you were drinking on the job or a picture of you drinking at school during class yes. Im not sure what else about this story is not known?
    But as it is told this woman has been railroaded by the school.
    Im guessing plenty of rights activists lawyer’s will be happy to sign up for this one.

  7. faustus says:

    kids today we are goint to learn how to spell ” l a w s u i t “

  8. bill g says:

    Millersville is well known for their teaching program (or so i’ve heard), so I suppose they have some illusion of quality to maintain. MU is also located in Lancaster County, PA a generally conservative county, excluding the city.

    That said, as a Millersville graduate myself, I’m very disappointed in my school. People have a right experience life and so long as that life doesn’t impose on their ability to do their jobs or school work, what business is it of ours?

    We try too hard to shelter our children from reality, and I think they suffer as a result. Lord forbid they realize their teacher is a human being.

    Shame on you MU!

  9. KVolk says:

    I am still amazed that people don’t realize that my space is a public forum. I think it is over the top she didn’t get her degree and like most everyone I think she will probably be making the aquaintance of a lawyer now but I come back to the issue of My space is a public forum and what you post will be subject to public scrutiny and all that intales. Based on just the posts I seee on this blog that ain’t a good thing all the time.

  10. cheese says:

    A great professor at Michigan State once said, “let them have their fun now. They’ll be stuff-shirts soon enough”.

    I see this crap now and then when “Googling” applicants who apply for positions in my department. I take it in the context it was intended. I like people with a sense of humor — it shows intelligence.

    Conversely, a lack of humor show stupidity. Jane Bray is lucky not to be working for me. I’d fire that stuff-shirt.

  11. Rozmarija Grauds says:

    Just another sign that RATIONALITY anmd common sense in America is going down the drain – FAST. Parts of Pennsylvania are radical bible-belt people. A more detailed article in an AUSTRALIAN newspaper listed her achievements as a superior student.

  12. Angel H. Wong says:

    There are way too many Mormons in charge in that University..

  13. Raff says:

    When did it become someones job to search the internet for what students do with their free time on a non-school related social website?

    Whose job is it to do that?

  14. mcjj says:

    This must be why Britney and Tom Cruse is also out of a job.

  15. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    #2 – james hatsis

    “Reading #1 gives me a sense of deja vous….

    Déjà moi? Mais non, mon ami… I wasn’t even here the first time…

  16. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    #14 – Angel

    “There are way too many Mormons in charge in that University..”

    Interesting fact – if you remove the third “M” from your statement, it remains true…

  17. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    #0 – SN

    “Can somebody explain how a picture of a drunk 25 year old promotes underage drinking?”

    But actually it’s even worse than that; it really can only be said that it’s a picture of someone (presumably the subject) apparently taking a drink. Drunk? How can a photo possibly prove the BAL of it’s subject? Such idiocy.

    And for all any viewer can tell, the cup (which obviously does not carry the name of any alcoholic beverage, BTW) could, in point of actual fact, be completely empty…

    Even Lionel Hutz could win this one. In his sleep.

  18. John S says:

    The idea of businesses looking online for profiles of people who are applying for jobs has come up often as of late. The problem with this is that many of the people who are doing these searches appear to not know much about the way the internet works at all. While a couple of theses stories talk about myspace and other pages where the person actually posted the material about themselves there will likely be stories where this is not the case. There is lots of fake myspace pages and other sites about people and knowing how to eliminate those false sources will be more difficult than just “googeling” a persons name. The recent fox news failure shows how easy it is to find false information.

    John S

  19. Mr. Fusion says:

    #19, And I still respect you this morning.

  20. Spooof says:

    I can see a picture like that impacting her ability to get certain jobs, but it should not have prevented her from getting a degree (unless it was some sort of rule at the University). I hope that she gets her degree and a large chunk of cash for a deposit on a house or vacation.

  21. John S says:

    The thought also comes to mind about why this college and businesses are so eager to look up info on line about people anyway. There are better ways to do things and this smacks of laziness on their part. As has been posted their is not guarantee that people will have their follies online. Thus the playing field will not be equal. As has been said my many “you are only guilty if you are caught”. So if you are trying to guarantee perfect graduates or employees good luck. The reason why she apologized is because as of late the people who do screw up(Millersville University in this case) are making those that did not (Stacy Snyder) apologize. Why take responsablility for your actions when you can force others to.

    John S

  22. C0D3R says:

    Companies are making serious money, or will be soon, when databases collected off MySpace.com pages, or perhaps Dvorak.org, and certainly dice.com are integrated.

    Employers will be a click and a few dollars away from knowing the differing ways resumes were padded and slanted through your carer, what your off hours habits and vices are, and how quickly you shift into spleen curdling rants.

    A little later in Dvoraks blog we see music recognition pretty well nailed. Over a cel phone no less. Give it ten years or twenty when face recognition catches up.

    The photos will have been catalouged and preserved nicely, and your name and numbers and likeness will be attached to all those funny flikr photos from the 1990’s onward.

    It won’t take much fuzzy logic to attach real names to online psuedonyms and psuedoanonynyms. The data is there today. It will just be a scant few years before it is tied together into a nice neat package.

    Everything from job promotions to health inurance to defense in civil cases will hinge on the dumb ass things you’ve done online.

    You have been warned.

  23. Hugh Bastard says:

    She is obviously a danger to society. When will the general public recognize the serious threat to our way of life posed by drunken pirates.

  24. George of the city says:

    I know of no school system that does not have a morals clause in there teachers contract. We do not have many teachers on the blog here.

  25. T.C. Moore says:

    When you study in a particular major for 4 years or 2 years or whatever, and you fulfill all the requirements, what kind of university decides the day before you graduate to not give you the degree (and extra work for a teaching credential) that you studied for? What does that do to their reputation? I understand colleges have different rules, but the idea they can change your degree at the last minute is bizarre.

    Why didn’t they just ask her to remove the picture if they wanted to protect their reputation. What kind of adult looks at any picture, let alone that innocuous one, on a personal/social site, and jumps to the conclusion that she’s promoting underage drinking.

  26. T.C. Moore says:

    Here’s their response. A whole lotta nothing. If they don’t leak their side of the story to make the case against her, I’m guessing they’re just lining up behind a knee-jerk, bureaucratic reaction.


  27. SN says:

    27. “I know of no school system that does not have a morals clause in there teachers contract.

    Ok, can you now explain why or how it’s immoral for a 25 year old woman to drink from a cup while wearing a pirate hat on Halloween?

  28. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #29 – Interesting response… All decisions are made on a range of acedemic issues, or so it claims. I’ve read a dozen or so news accounts and the complaint posted to The Smoking Gun… Unless there is some big secret here, the university has no legs to stand on.

    #30 – Nobody can explain that to you because it simply isn’t a moral issue.

    It is hard to argue this is a privacy issue as MySpace is quite public and people using these sites are putting themselves out there for public viewing – and why not? The point is “social networking.” It’s hard to network in private.

    But we are seeing the tip of the iceberg with people being punished for having normal adult lives… I hate to say it in front of this crowd, but if businesses and institutions cannot be trusted to leave the lives of people to those people then perhaps there needs to be protection in the form of… OMG…. Legislation…

    Before the conservatives jump all over that, remember, it ain’t gonna happen in this climate.

  29. IllChillKyle says:

    Wow. There is no proof whatsoever that she is intoxicated in that picture nor that there was an alcoholic beverage in that cup. The fact that she was dressed up as a pirate certainly in some way justifies the caption drunken pirate. what do pirates do? they drink Rum!


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