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March 19, 2008, 10:46 AM ET

Ryerson U. Won't Expel Student Over Facebook Study Group

The first-year engineering student who faced expulsion for maintaining a Facebook study group will be able to continue his studies at Ryerson University, in Toronto, according to the The Globe and Mail.

Chris Avenir faced 147 charges of academic misconduct after one of his professors found a Facebook group Mr. Avenir administered where engineering students could get homework help. It was stipulated in the professor’s course that students should work independently.

Mr. Avenir ran into trouble when he wrote on the group’s page that members should “discuss/post solutions.”

The case has stirred hot debate. Some have argued that the group was analogous to an in-person study group — merely a medium for collaboration. In some circles, Ryerson’s actions were branded as Luddite.

Others, however, said that Facebook was a mere distraction from the real issue: that Avenir broke the rules by establishing a place where students could get homework solutions.

Mr. Avenir didn’t totally escape punishment. A faculty committee ruled that he should get a zero for one assignment, as well as a disciplinary note in his file.—Hurley Goodall

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