original article: Student Bullied by Anti-Religious Hostility at University of Wisconsin
June 24, 2015 by Liberty Counsel
Baraboo, WI – Liberty Counsel demanded the University of Wisconsin reverse its professor’s viewpoint discrimination and open hostility toward religion that occurred when Professor Annette Kuhlman threatened her student, Rachel Langeberg, with a failing grade for a group project unless she removed a Bible reference from a class presentation at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County.
When reviewing Langeberg’s sociology group project, Professor Kuhlman wrote, “…the University of Wisconsin is a secular institution. Religious contemplations and the bible [sic] belong to a different realm and not academic sources. So your argumentation along Christian lines, including the slides you designed in relation to it, are [sic] inappropriate for this presentation. I will not allow you to present unless you change this. You will also fail your presentation if your discuss religion in connection with it.” After Ms. Langeberg tried to resolve the matter by meeting with the professor and Dean Tracy White, to no avail, she contacted Liberty Counsel.
“Dr. Kuhlman’s review crossed the line from scholarship to censorship,” said Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast. On numerous occasions, the Supreme Court has upheld students’ First Amendment rights in the public schools. The Constitution does not “require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any.” Lynch v. Donnelly. Moreover, “teachers must be sensitive to students’ personal beliefs and take care not to abuse their positions of authority.” Farnan v. Capistrano.
“Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they sign up for classes at the University of Wisconsin,” said Mast. “It is blatantly unconstitutional to restrict student religious speech or threaten a failing grade for religious content, where the speech or content is otherwise academically appropriate for the assignment,” Mast concluded.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
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