Psych prof cleared in ‘gay pride’ assignment

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.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON September 11, 2013

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[…] psychology professor’s assignment — wear a gay pride ribbon and write about the experience — d…, concluded an investigation at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. Students who objected […]


Learning is a change process. Any change process can be uncomfortable. While we should never attempt to harm the mental health of our students, making them a little uncomfortable from time to time can teach them lessons about themselves that cannot be learned any other way. We should not be afraid to make students a little uncomfortable if it encourages true learning.

Steve V

RT, all I can say is WOW! You are so right. So many students feel entitled to good grades without doing the hard work needed. YES, you do need to occasionally make students a little uncomfortable by challenging them. As you said, “Learning is a change process.” And this process can make the learner uncomfortable and that is ok.
Thank you for saying what I have felt for years.

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