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 FIRE’s work, of course, weren’t surprised to see these abuses happen in social work schools. Last week, FIRE wrote to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about the political litmus tests endorsed by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE)—the accrediting body for schools of social work. HHS social workers must have a degree from a CSWE-accredited school—and CSWE-accredited schools must evaluate students on their dedication to “social and economic justice,” which are undeniably controversial issues. Neither Bill Felkner nor Emily Brooker fit in with the mainstream of students at their schools of social work when it came to those issues. Is it a coincidence, then, that they were the ones punished for their beliefs?