Ural State University of Economics in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast — a city in the central and Southern part of Russia — monitors its students’ social media for evidence of homosexuality. The school even went so far as to threaten to expel a male student because he had joined an online LGBTQ group and owned a pink mobile phone case.
The Russian newspaper eanews.ru reports the school uses a “special service” to monitor students’ social media. Merely connecting or communicating with a member of the LGBTQ community is enough to get a student into trouble.
Students told the newspaper that University Vice-rector Krasnov Roman Valerievich called a male student to pick up documents from the university which stated, “We tracked your social networks, here are the printouts: You are gay.”
The accused student himself confirmed the incident, stating:
“The director of my institute called me and said that an unpleasant situation had occurred … They found that I was subscribed to a group of the LGBT community. Then the vice-rector … called me… He said that I ‘defamed the name of the institute,’ that I have a pink phone and that having a girlfriend, in his opinion, is not an excuse and does not prove that I am not gay.”
Valerievich told the newspaper, “We are a state university, and, accordingly, we look at the moral character of our students. We have the right to see how our student lives. After all, these are public pages.”
The school’s illogical and erratic policy falls in line with Russia’s infamous 2013 federal law forbidding “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships.” The law has been used as a justification to shut down LGBTQ websites, film festivals, arrest pro-LGBTQ activists, fire LGBTQ-identified teachers, rip apart same-sex families and now, apparently, expel students for talking to queer people and having a pink cell phone case.