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May 22, 2018

Grocery store censors 'Summa Cum Laude' to 'Summa --- Laude' on graduation cake

Publix grocery store deemed the Latin word for 'with' as profanity

Odd News Censorship
Summa cum laude cake Cara Koscinski/for PhillyVoice

This is the cake delivered to a graduation party in South Carolina.

Jacob Koscinski graduated summa cum laude this past week, so Cara Koscinski decided to throw her son a graduation party. Family members were to arrive in Charleston, S.C. Saturday to celebrate his 4.79 GPA.

So, naturally, she ordered a cake. Latin honors deserves a cake, she figured. 


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But this story is making national headlines this week after a personal message on the cake was censored by a local grocery store called Publix.

To order a cake decorated with a personalized message, Publix uses a website that allows customers to personally type in what kind of message they want on a cake.

When Koscinski entered the message — “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018,” the website automatically censored “cum,” the Latin word for the preposition “with,” as profanity.

She clarified the meaning of the word with special instructions and a simple explanation on the website. She didn’t think much of it, she said.

But the day of the party, the cake showed up looking like this:

The store had written "Summa --- Laude" on the cake, an indicator that a profane word had been used in place of the hyphens. In her post on Facebook, Koscinski said it was “utterly ridiculous” and a “total embarrassment” for her and her family.

Publix gave her a $70 refund for the cake and a store gift card, The Washington Post reported.