WSU student claims discrimination because of conservative views

November 12, 2005

The Washington State University student also opposes abortion and wrote "diversity is perversity" in the margins of a textbook.

Swan's attitude prompted his professors in the WSU College of Education to order him into diversity training, and almost caused Swan, 42, to be kicked out of the teacher training program.

He fought back by contacting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based group that battles political correctness at universities.

"They want liberals out there teaching kids," Swan complained about the College of Education. "To me, it seems mainstream opinions got me in trouble."

Officials for the university say they are taking a fresh look at the criteria used to determine if prospective teachers are fit to lead a classroom full of children.

The evaluations are designed to identify future teachers who might introduce inappropriate material - whether about politics, religion or other hot-button issues - or would be uncomfortable among some groups in classrooms.

"We want prospective teachers to realize they are going to be teaching all children," said Judy Mitchell, dean of education. "We want to make sure a teacher appreciates and values human diversity and others' varied talents and perspectives.".

Among other questions, the WSU form asks professors to evaluate whether a student exhibits an understanding of the complexities of race, power, gender, class, sexual orientation and privilege in American society.

Four times Swan's teachers failed him on this question. He was threatened with termination from the teacher training program in August after teachers said they feared he could not withhold his opinions in a classroom. He was ordered to a training session with the Office of the Vice President for Equity and Diversity...

Schools: Washington State University Cases: Washington State University: Use of Dispositions Theory to Enforce Ideological Orthodoxy