Education

He graded his ex-girlfriend’s apology letter a D- and tweeted it out. UCF suspended him for it.

Nick Lutz tweeted a photo of his “graded” version of his ex-girlfriend’s apology letter, which promptly went viral. He’s been suspended for two semesters because of it.
Nick Lutz tweeted a photo of his “graded” version of his ex-girlfriend’s apology letter, which promptly went viral. He’s been suspended for two semesters because of it.

Update: On Wednesday, UCF agreed to give Nick Lutz an appeal and wiped away his previous sentence.

Nick Lutz blocked his ex-girlfriend’s cellphone number and on every form of social media. So she handwrote him an apology letter and tucked it under the windshield wiper of his car.

His response promptly went viral and earned the 21-year-old a two-semester suspension from the University of Central Florida. The rising senior studying sports management said he’s fighting the sentence.

When Lutz, of Debary, sent pictures of the letter to his friends, they gave him the idea to grade it and return it. So he grabbed his red pen and went to work.

“The thought of you has made me loose my sanity,” she wrote.

“Lose,” he corrected.

“I just hope to God you have thought about me like I have you,” she wrote.

A red arrow under the sentence points to his note in the margins: “I have not.”

He gave the four pages of vulnerable, emotional prose a 61 out of 100 — a D minus.

“Long intro, short conclusion, strong hypothesis but nothing to back it up,” he wrote. “While the gesture is appreciated, I would prefer details over statements. Revision for half credit will be accepted.”

Then he took the step that elevated this from a squabble between exes to an event that might derail his college career. He tweeted it.

It went viral, climbing to more than 121,000 retweets. The story made the rounds on websites around the world, and Lutz gave several interviews — none mentioning his ex-girlfriend by name.

His lawyer, Jacob Stuart, said the ex-girlfriend felt she was being cyberbullied. She went to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, but no charges were filed. She went to UCF, where she wasn’t a student, and filed a grievance.

Weeks later, Lutz found out he was suspended for Summer and Fall 2017 for violating the “disruptive conduct” and “harmful behavior” clauses of the student conduct code.

Lutz’s lawyer called the decision a violation of his client’s first amendment rights.

“I think the damaging thing here is how does UCF decide what’s morally harmful?” Stuart said. “There was nothing derogatory about it. It was obvious he was making fun of her, but that’s the beauty of the constitution.”

UCF declined to make anyone available for an interview, but a spokeswoman said all rulings are subject to appeal.

“It’s important to understand that the process in this case may yet not be complete,” said spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin.

Stuart said he plans to appeal his client’s suspension and hopes to see Lutz back in the classroom before the summer semester starts.

“He doesn’t want money. He doesn’t want anything,” he said. ‘He just wants to go back to school and graduate.”

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc

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