The litigation of Virginia Tech student Kierstien Hening starts with a simple announcement:”Kierstien Hening denied to kneel.” The suit filed this week against Virginia Tech football trainer Charles”Chugger” Adair (in his official capacity) alleges that when Hening refused to kneel and support Black Lives Issue, she had been benched, harassed and ultimately forced off the team. In the event the allegations are true, she would have not only a winning situation however a situation that may set important precedent for the freedom of speech.
Adair implemented changes after a mandated diversity training order in the Atlantic Coast Conference. We have seen such mandated training programs from colleges and corporations — applications which can increase concerns over forced speech and viewpoint discrimination. As a state college, Virginia Tech is subject to the limitations imposed on the government under the First Amendment.
Through meetings, Hening flocked into the modifications as forced speech and said that she disagreed with aspects of the BLM motion. She was then supposedly labeled a”racist” by a few on the team.
The complaint states that only two pupils flocked to kneeling however their other student was about a scholarship along with her parents known as Adair to frighten him not to frighten their kid because of their political views. Rather, Hening alleges, Adair out her as well as speaking about some people who think”all lives matter.” She states that her refusal to kneel led for her benching and ultimate removal from the team. Additionally, it supposedly resulted in a torrent of abuse and on interpersonal media.
The complaint alleges that, during the halftime at a match with Virginia, Adair singled out Hening and denounced her in front of the team as being greedy and”bitching and moaning” instead of being a team player in supporting the diversity exhibits. She has been pulled as an starters within another game against Clemson and again Adair allegedly berated her openly. She was also left the starters within another game against North Carolina. She asserts that the misuse and shunning became so great that she had been forced to resign.
One issue might be that she chose to resign. The school can argue that she had been allowed to refuse to take part in the screens and that the choice to use players is based on a trainer’s discretion. She did in fact play, although not as a starter or not for very long in such games. Moreover, she stepped only after a couple of games rather than raise the issue with the university and permit time for resolution.
Nonetheless, the complaint alleges apparent forms of retaliation and harassment against a student for her social and political perspectives. If true, Adair has been using his position to stress and misuse a student for not sticking to the preferred opinion of BLM and diversity displays.
We have been discussing teachers and students that disagree with aspects of BLM while supporting the movement for racial alike. There has been an increasing intolerance for such dissenting viewpoints. At Berkeley, even an anonymous letter from a faculty member (who feared retaliation) was condemned by coworkers. At UChicago, a respected academic has been the subject of a effort to his conclusion because he criticized BLM and questioned claims regarding police abuse. A University of Pennsylvania professor faced calls for his conclusion when he questioned an anti-racism announcement. A Harvard professor was the subject of such a effort for questioning the support for a number of claims of police abuse. A UCF professor was put under police protection after challenging particular claims as far as”black privilege.” A Cornell professor was assaulted by his own colleagues for voicing dissenting viewpoints about BLM and its underlying claims. A Virginia professor needed to have a leave of absence after criticizing BLM. Even students are subject to formal condemnations for simplifying the BLM motion or questioning its claims like a current controversy at Georgetown. Students in New York colleges have confronted such retaliation for their perspectives, such as again Cornell. A Wisconsin student columnist was fired for voicing opposing perspectives of defunding the authorities.
Few college or students want to confront such campaigns or labelling For its part, BLM has denounced even criticism of the actual estate purchases of one of its founders as”terror by White Supremacists.”
The targeting of students is especially concerning. Rather than use his position to reaffirm that there can be divergent perspectives on a team, Adair is accused of using his position to isolate and misuse this particular student.
This controversy demonstrates why students feel uncomfortable in speaking freely on our campuses. We previously discussed a Gallup poll showing ninety percent of Pomona students said that they didn’t don’t hesitate to speak openly or freely. It is an indictment of not just Pomona however many of our colleges. This is not a problem for many students but a small fraction of both most self-identified conservatives. 1 recent survey indicates the already modest population of conservative and Republican students was cut by approximately half. The Crimson poll covered over 76% of the Harvard College Class of 2024 also revealed that the class contained 72.4 percent that self-identify as either”quite liberal” or”somewhat liberal.” Another Harvard study revealed that 35% of conservatives felt that they could discuss their perspectives on campus.
Again, both Adair and Virginia Tech have yet to react to this litigation. On the other hand, the allegations are extremely serious in my opinion in the free speech standpoint. There is a crushing irony to the allegations. Kaepernick was allowed to kneel in protest at the NFL. But now students are whining that they aren’t being allowed to stand for the anthem with no retaliation and harassment.
I don’t see why it ought to be since Hening remains alleging a pattern of misuse in the state celebrity. If that were a determinative factor, the majority of the job discrimination cases that resulted in a person quitting wouldn’t be exact because they didn’t wait to be fired. In case Hening makes it throughout the motion to dismiss, she’d be allowed discovery of mails and other potential evidence on the reaction of Adair and his staff to this dissenting student.