McNeese investigating employee's Facebook post

McNeese investigating employee's Facebook post
(Source: Facebook)
(Source: Facebook)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A situation involving a McNeese State University employee is being investigated after the university received some emails about a post she made on Facebook.

But where is the line drawn if the post happens to be on your personal page?

A concerned viewer contacted KPLC about the post.

McNeese administrators are aware of it but they say it's murky territory because the post was not made while the employee was at work; it wasn't done on any McNeese equipment, nor was it posted on any official university social media sites.

It started with a Facebook post, where the employee shared a video and wrote, "More proof of what a POS our current President is..."

"It just got me thinking - why would you post something like that when you're in such a high-profile position, particularly asking alumni for money to help support the programs that take place at McNeese, but you make such a really vulgar comment regarding the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America," said Kimberly Donalson, a McNeese alumna and former employee of the McNeese Foundation.

Donalson took a snapshot of the post, which was made by Stephanie Clark, assistant director for alumni affairs at McNeese. Clark has appeared on KPLC a number of times to discuss McNeese Alumni events.

The post was made on Clark's personal Facebook page.

University administration became aware of the of the post after receiving emails early Thursday morning.

"The message that was posted in no way reflects the values or the culture at McNeese," said Candace Townsend, director of public relations at McNeese.

Townsend said this matter isn't about the message itself, but rather the effect it can have on anyone reading it.

"If this employee had posted some other kind of personal information that was offensive, it would be the same thing. It is a matter of not posting things on your private channels, your private pages, that are offensive to anyone," she said, "particularly in a high-profile position at the university or in a public position at the university."

Bradley Shear is an attorney based in Washington, D.C. He specializes in digital technology and privacy law. He said regardless of what you perceive is your right to post whatever you want, there can be consequences.

"In general, most jobs out there are at-will employment, and under at-will employment, you basically can be fired for just about anything. And, whether or not that's fair - that's beside the point. The bottom line is that you just don't know how people are going to perceive what you post," he explained.

Townsend said McNeese is taking this matter seriously.

Personnel details cannot be released but the university is investigating the situation.

KPLC contacted Clark for comment but did not receive a response by news time.

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