Missouri State University: Political Litmus Test in School of Social Work

Category: Freedom of Conscience, Religious Liberty
Schools: Missouri State University

Emily Brooker sued Missouri State University (MSU) after she was threatened with expulsion and charged with violating MSU’s “Standards of Essential Functioning” for refusing to lobby the Missouri legislature on behalf of homosexual adoption. The lawsuit was settled in her favor. An outside investigation of the School of Social Work found ideological coercion on the part of the faculty against dissenting students and noted the chilling effect of its actions and policies on the school’s intellectual atmosphere.

  • Higher education can lower your expectations

    August 3, 2010

    Ever since the Second World War, professional educators have promoted a college or university education for the wrong reason, viz., to make more money than otherwise would be the case. Around 1965 the passion for the egalitarian and pacifistic goals of the left began to corrupt higher learning even more. Today one enrolls at one’s own risk. The fundamental error of the claim that college makes you richer is that those who succeed after college are likely to succeed without it. While many students have indeed gone on to prosperous careers, many others have not, dropping out at some point […]

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  • Thought Reform and Ideological Screening on Campus in 2009

    December 31, 2009

    Liberty cannot exist in a society where people are forced to conform their thoughts and expression to official viewpoints. Differences of opinion are natural in a vibrant, free society, yet at too many of our nation’s colleges and universities, students and professors are expected to share a single viewpoint under the banner of “community values” or “sustainability” or “cultural competence” or “social justice” or “diversity” or “multiculturalism.” The year 2009 was not a good year for freedom of conscience, but fortunately FIRE won case after case.  As Greg noted earlier today, the notorious thought reform program in the University of Delaware’s residence halls, […]

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  • FIRE DVD Distributed in Print Edition of ‘National Review’

    September 30, 2009

    Readers and subscribers of the print edition of National Review will have a pleasant surprise as they flip through their October 5, 2009 edition. FIRE has inserted a DVD with three of our recent documentaries: Think What We Think…Or Else! Thought Control on the American Campus, which documents the shocking indoctrination program at the University of Delaware; Threats, Coercion and Bullying at Missouri State, about the case of Emily Brooker whose social work professor attempted to force her to lobby the state legislature for a cause with which she disagreed; and Political Correctness vs. Freedom of Thought – The Keith […]

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  • FIRE’s YouTube Channel Grows in Popularity

    June 11, 2009

    Earlier this week, FIRE released a new addition to its video library with a short documentary titled “Threats, Coercion, and Bullying at Missouri State.” The video explores the case of Emily Brooker, a social work student at Missouri State University. Emily had her rights violated when a professor in the School of Social Work attempted to force her to write a signed letter to the state legislature advocating for homosexual adoption, a position she does not support. In response to a lawsuit from the Alliance Defense Fund, the school backed down and even initiated a review of the entire department. […]

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  • FIRE Releases New Short Documentary on Freedom of Conscience Case at Missouri State, Announces Student Video Contest Winners

    June 9, 2009

    PHILADELPHIA, June 9, 2009—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is pleased to announce the release of a new video on DVD and online called “Threats, Coercion, and Bullying at Missouri State.” The short documentary covers FIRE’s case at Missouri State University (MSU), where social work student Emily Brooker was threatened with expulsion after she refused (as a matter of personal belief) to send a signed letter to the Missouri state legislature in favor of homosexual foster parenting and adoption. FIRE also is pleased to announce the winners of its “Freedom on Campus” student video contest. American college and […]

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  • Threats, Coercion, and Bullying at Missouri State

    June 9, 2009

    This short documentary covers FIRE’s case at Missouri State University, where social work student Emily Brooker was threatened with expulsion after she refused (as a matter of personal belief) to send a signed letter to the Missouri state legislature in favor of homosexual foster parenting and adoption. This violation resulted not only in a federal lawsuit (which the school settled) but also in an official report that found that a culture of intimidation rife in the school’s School of Social Work. For instance, many students and faculty stated a fear of voicing differing opinions from the instructor or colleague, and […]

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  • Binghamton Social Work Case Gets National Attention, Student Government Support

    November 14, 2008

    The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) and The Volokh Conspiracy both have reported on the case of Binghamton University Department of Social Work master’s student Andre Massena, who was suspended for one year with no guarantee of return, required to apologize, required to disavow his own views, and required to make every effort to get others to stop complaining to the department after he put up posters that embarrassed his department. The posters challenged the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority, an agency Massena thought was responsible for social injustice. Massena remains in […]

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  • Binghamton University Department of Social Work Declares War on Student for Posters Criticizing Department and Government Agency

    November 13, 2008

    Today’s press release paints a very disturbing picture of Binghamton University’s Department of Social Work. The department ordered the suspension of a master’s student for one year with no guarantee of return, required him to apologize, and demanded that he publicly disavow his own views after he put up posters challenging the department for having hired the executive director of the Binghamton Housing Authority (BHA)—an agency the student thought was responsible for social injustice. Student Andre Massena remains in school pending an appeal, which is to be heard tomorrow afternoon. On August 25, 2008, Massena put up posters on campus […]

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  • Another Emily Brooker?

    April 11, 2008

    In 2006 and 2007, FIRE publicized the case of Emily Brooker, who sued Missouri State University (MSU) after she was charged with violating MSU’s “Standards of Essential Functioning” for refusing to lobby the Missouri legislature on behalf of homosexual adoption. MSU settled the lawsuit, and Brooker came out a clear winner. Later, an independent report blasted MSU’s School of Social Work for violations of its own stated ethic of respect: “‘[B]ullying’ was used by both students and faculty to characterize specific faculty. It appears that faculty have no history of intellectual discussion/debate. Rather, differing opinions are taken personally and often […]

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  • Tenured bigots

    August 10, 2007

    David French has known for years that college campuses are bastions of anti-evangelical bias. He knew it when he served on the admissions committee at Cornell Law School and watched his colleagues ridicule evangelical applicants as “Bible thumpers” or members of the “God squad.” He knew it during his tenure with an education watchdog organization that routinely challenged university speech codes bent on silencing evangelical viewpoints. He knew it when he shifted into his current role as director of the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom, a position from which he’s filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of victimized evangelical […]

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  • Missouri State Releases Report on Social Work Department

    April 9, 2007

    Last year, FIRE reported that Missouri State University had settled a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of social work student Emily Brooker. Ms. Brooker sued MSU after she was charged with violating MSU’s “Standards of Essential Functioning” for refusing to lobby the Missouri legislature on behalf of homosexual adoption.   David French, Ms. Brooker’s attorney, reports at Phi Beta Cons that MSU has released a report of an investigation undertaken by an outside committee on the state of the MSU social work department. The report is scathing, citing ideological coercion on the part of the faculty […]

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  • Missouri State Settles Freedom of Conscience Lawsuit

    November 13, 2006

    In a quick turn of events, Missouri State University didn’t hesitate to settle a freedom of conscience lawsuit that was filed less then two weeks ago. The lawsuit was filed in response to an incident in which student Emily Brooker was interrogated for two and a half hours by faculty members who attacked her religious beliefs concerning homosexuality and threatened to withhold her degree. As part of the settlement, the university will pay Brooker’s attorneys’ fees and waive her tuition for graduate school.

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  • Social Work Injustice on Inside Higher Ed

    November 1, 2006

    Today’s Inside Higher Ed carries an article covering the ADF’s lawsuit against Missouri State University for its outrageous, ideologically based treatment of social work student Emily Brooker. The case, which was covered by our own Luke Sheahan in a blog yesterday, involves, among other things, Brooker’s being forced to write a letter to legislators supporting a political policy with which she disagreed. This is very similar to the case of social work student Bill Felkner at Rhode Island College, who was also forced to lobby the state legislature for a policy that he didn’t really support.   Those who follow […]

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  • Did assignment get too political?

    November 1, 2006

    Lawyers at the Alliance Defense Fund have filed a complaint in federal district court on behalf of a former Missouri State University student who says that the university punished her for failing to take part in a class assignment that went against her beliefs as a Christian. Emily Brooker, who graduated from the university’s School of Social Work last spring, took issue with a project in which students were asked to draft and individually sign a letter to Missouri legislators that supported the right of gay people to be foster parents, according to the complaint. The assignment was eventually shelved, […]

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  • Missouri State Violates Freedom of Conscience

    October 31, 2006

    Last week FIRE asked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “take action against political litmus tests in America’s schools of social work.” HHS requires its social workers to have degrees from schools accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which requires its schools to “integrate social and economic justice content grounded in an understanding of distributive justice, human and civil rights, and the global interconnections of oppression.”   At Phi Beta Cons, David French, former FIRE president and current Director of the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom, gives an outstanding example of the threat […]

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