School 'Ethics' Group Punishes Student for Opposing Homosexual Adoption
November 1, 2006
A social work student at Missouri State University has filed a lawsuit alleging the school required her to adopt a position in support of homosexual adoption as a precondition to getting her degree.
According to news reports, Dr. Frank Kaufman -- an assistant professor in MSU's School of Social Work on the Springfield campus and a member of the Faculty Senate at MSU -- assigned his students a project promoting homosexual foster homes and adoption. The students were required to write and individually sign a letter to the Missouri legislature in support of homosexual adoption. Emily Brooker says she refused to sign the letter because of her religious convictions, and alleges she was punished for taking that stand.
Brooker says the school subjected her to a grievance hearing where school officials told her she had violated three of the "Standards of Essential Functioning in Social Work Education": diversity, interpersonal skills, and professional behavior. The social work student is now suing the university for a violation of her First Amendment rights. Her attorney, David French with the Alliance Defense Fund, claims his client was interrogated for two-and-a-half hours by faculty members about the matter.
"She was brought into a hearing where she was denied any access to a recording of the hearing, any advocate in the hearing, and subjected to a grilling," says French. The attorney says Brooker was asked questions like "Do you think I'm a sinner?" and "Do you think gays and lesbians are sinners?"
French describes the entire situation as "really an amazing case." He explains that at the December 2005 hearing she was "punished, forced to undergo close monitoring for the rest of her career at the university, and forced to write things, again, that she disagreed with in order to graduate."
The ADF attorney says many public universities are requiring student to adopt leftist positions in order to obtain a social work degree. "The social work programs are saying that, in order to be a social worker, in order to get a degree, you're going to have to agree with the university's stance on various issues," he shares, "including issues regarding homosexual 'marriage,' including issues regarding the entire diversity-tolerance agenda."
But French contends that a university is supposed to be a "marketplace of ideas" where educators should be tolerant of the opinions of both Christian and non-Christian students. "In an institution of higher learning," he says, "students should be marked on the quality of their work -- not discriminated against on the basis of their religious beliefs."
French says Brooker wants her record cleared and is seeking compensation "after being vilified by the School of Social Work and undergoing personal humiliation." The complaint in Brooker v. The Governors of Missouri State University was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division