Thursday, April 26, 2007

Senate Education Committee begins discussion of Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act

Sen. Gary Nodler's Education Committee began discussions on the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act Wednesday.
The act is named after the Missouri State University student whose professor required her and other students to write letters to the Missouri General Assembly supporting gay adoption.
Though the university handled the situation quickly, settling a lawsuit filed by Miss Brooker, Rep. Jane Cunningham offered this bill, which will require university and college officials to produce reams of paperwork to show they are providing "intellectual diversity:"

David Robinson, a history professor at Truman State University, said 28 other states have introduced bills similar to Cunningham's and all have been defeated.

"Legislation would stop the free market of ideas and rifle debate," Robinson said.

But Cunningham said this would encourage debate and stop students from being afraid to speak against their professor’s opinions. She added that 51 percent of students at MU and MSU said they had to agree with a professor to get a good grade.


Anonymous said...

There have been some conflicting reports about what Ms. Brooker actually had to do in this class, and to earn her BSW. The information presented in the Columbia paper linked here has information that doesn't jive with what other reports say, and doesn't mention the fact that the university settled with her for basically the promise to fund her MSW and to place her in good standing at MSU. Why she would pursue this degree if she truly believes that social work promulgates such "sinful" ways of helping people? Funny also, how many folks don't seem to be curious about the other side of her case-like what other reasons the department had for questioning her decision to become a social worker, or the appropriateness of her behavior in ways unrelated to her "religious" beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Emily Brooker has been noted to abide by the Code of Ethics by various staff in her practicum and employment. It has been reported that this has included serving several homosexual people. In a blog in the fall of 2006 LL states,"I think you can respect people and work with all kinds of people without supporting behavior. If a social worker who supports gay rights can work with a conservative individual that believes homosexuality is a sin then a social worker that does not support the gay rights movement can work with an individual that is homosexual." This is true, but the Social Work party line at MSU indicated that it is not true. An ethical social worker would provide the appropriate information to each client about how to advocate for their political view, but would not do it him/herself. However, she was asked to sign a letter that she did not agree with herself. Then, when the assignment was changed, a grievance was filed. This is a violation of First Amendment Rights because she was punished because she did not agree with the "party line". As for anything else, go back and read the law suit. She was tardy, and this did change, but I don't think it required a level three grievance. To call a level three grievance because she did not say "Dr ____", in two e-mails to another student seems absurd. She had already apoligized to the professor.

In addition, two independent Deans of Social Work also found that the department did similiar things to others in the report of 3/28/07. (In reading the News Leader in November, 2006, it appears that the NASW agrees with this point of view.) Statements from both of these groups indicate that social workers can be conservative or have religious views. So, social work departments are not to promulgate what happened in the department. (When talking with other social workers who have graduated from other departments, they were concerned about what happened in the department.)

I am proud of what Dr. Nietzel has done and what MSU hopes to do for all students. I hope there are changes that allows social work students and professors to learn to care and respect the views of all people EVEN MORE, including other students. If the changes in the March, 2007 report by the reviewers are made, it can be a great deapartment!

Anonymous said...

my concerns:

1 - Frank Kaufman
The MSU professor whose abusive policies triggered Brooker's suit...
will he remain on staff?

2 - MSU Sociology Dept.
A review panel MSU brought in recommended dropping the plunger on this department.
Apparently MSU has chosen to let the school continue until the storm blows over - then, most likely, business as usual in Sociology.

3 - New Allegations of abuse...
Brooker and who knows how many others
were assigned to engage in a homosexual affair
and write on the experience... Story still emerging.

My opinion: lawmakers should cut off MSU from further state funding.


MSU should be upfront -

Each applicant for enrollment should be presented with a waiver BEFORE he/she pays & signs up for classes... students should be formally notified before registration that they will be required to surrender their religious, political & free speech rights at MSU. Advance notice is only be fair...