The [mortuary science] program's rules specifically require students to be "respectful and discreet" in dealing with cadavers, and not to blog about their cadavers. The university said that Tatro violated these rules with four Facebook status updates in which she talked about her cadaver, whom she named "Bernie."The student was actually pretty respectful toward the corpse:
Realized with great sadness that my best friend, Bernie, will no longer be with me as of Friday next week. I wish to accompany him to the retort. Now where will I go or who will I hang with when I need to gather my sanity? Bye, bye Bernie. Lock of hair in my pocket.If you were "Bernie"'s widow, would that make you mad that you'd allowed the program to use his body for educational purposes? Do you think the university's interests are enough to justify this repression of speech?
Note that the state supreme court's decision was much more limited — relating only to professional programs with standards of conduct — than what the intermediate appellate court had said, which would have permitted the university to "punish off-campus speech that 'materially and substantially disrupted the work and discipline of the university.'"
UPDATE, June 26, 2012: Amanda Tatro, who was only 31, has died. She suffered from a disorder of the central nervous system and "need[ed] electric spinal cord stimulators in her body to be able to move."