A psychology professor’s assignment — wear a gay pride ribbon and write about the experience — didn’t infringe on students’ rights, concluded an investigation at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. Dr. Linda Brunton wanted students to experience prejudice against gays, reports the Columbia Daily Herald.
The Alliance Defending Freedom charged Brunton violated students’ First Amendment rights and discriminated on the basis of religion.
The investigation found:
◆ There was no evidence that Brunton “brushed off” some students’ concerns that their religious convictions prohibit them from showing support for “unnatural and immoral” gay conduct;
◆ The gay pride ribbon assignment was not mandatory, and students who objected were given options;
◆ Only four of the 43 students received a grade of zero. Two of them “who allegedly received a zero because of their religious beliefs” turned in an optional assignment that they knew was not written according to instructions.
One student who turned in an optional paper got a zero for the assignment, but an overall class grade of A.
Brunton’s comments in class could have showed “more sensitivity,” but were within the bounds of academic freedom, the report concluded.