Is a pink phone worth expulsion? Apparently, it might be in Russia.
According to the Moscow Times, one university student in Russia is being hounded and cyber-stalked by his school’s administrators. The student, whose identity is being withheld, says that the Ural State University of Economics in Yekaterinburg, the fourth largest country in Russia, is terrorizing him.
“We tracked your social media, here are the printouts: You’re gay,” the university’s vice president wrote to him. The student told local Russian news sources that his pink phone case and membership to pro-LGBTQ social media groups brought on this attack.
“The fact that I have a girlfriend, in his opinion, is not an excuse and doesn’t prove that I’m not gay,” the student told local reporters.
When asked about the school’s practices, Roman Krasnov, the school’s vice president for disciplinary work, confirmed that USUE monitors its students’ social media page. The school even has a devoted group to monitoring students online.
“We’re a state university so we look at our students’ moral character,” he told eanews.ru. “Why shouldn’t our youth policy and social departments be looking at what our students do outside class time?”
In a statement, the university also alleged that complaints from other students led to the monitoring of the student in question.
“The USUE student did have a link to the LGBT community on his personal page, which counts as public propaganda,” its press service said.
For the past six years, the Russian government has acted on a “homosexual propaganda” law for the sake of protecting minors. This law gives Russian authorities the right to block pride parades and online LGBTQ content. But ironically, the law has also been used against teenagers and children. Two sons were removed from their years-long adoptive gay fathers because of the propaganda law. One gay teen was fined after he promoted LGBTQ rights on social media. And now, another youth is being shamed for doing the same.
That said, Krasnov denies the statement that he planned to expel the student. He calls this accusation by media sources “incorrect.”