On Nov. 10, the “Coalition to Remove John Bogdan” tweeted photo evidence indicating that the group had been blocked by UNC Charlotte Admissions and several affiliated social media ambassadors.
The “Coalition to Remove John Bogdan” is a group of UNC Charlotte students, staff, faculty and community members with one common goal: removing John Bogdan from his position as associate vice chancellor of safety and security.
The group claims that Bogdan’s experience as a former warden of Guantanamo Bay disqualifies him from overseeing safety and security at a public university and the group accuses him of committing “war crimes.”
The “Coalition to Remove John Bogdan” has mostly been active on social media, but has also protested through chalking, wearing buttons, and posting flyersamong other things.
“His position in higher level administration on campus, especially his control over the police force and other potentially punitive offices, poses a direct threat to all members of our community that identify as People of Color and even more specifically Muslim, South West Asian, and North African students, faculty, or staff,” the group said in a statement published on Nov. 12.
The University said in a statement, “UNC Charlotte stands by John Bogdan, his qualifications, and his efforts in ensuring the safety and security of the University.”
Director of Enrollment Communications Lisa Meckley said the group has since been unblocked by UNC Charlotte admissions, but offered no comment on why they were initially blocked. Director of Undergraduate Admissions Claire Kirby confirmed that the group is unblocked and declined to comment on the reason for the block.
As a public university, UNC Charlotte is bounded by the First Amendment, but whether or not its admissions department may block student groups on Twitter remains unclear. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization that takes freedom of speech on campuses very seriously, echoed this ambiguity, saying “it depends” whether public universities can block users on social media. Blocking an account not only prevents that user from commenting, but it also precludes them from reading what the blocker tweets.
UNC Charlotte’s spokesperson declined to comment on why the group was initially blocked, only saying “the Coalition is not blocked by Admissions.”
The Coalition did not respond to requests for comment.