A former Montana State University student is suing the school after a professor disclosed his views on transgenderism to a transgender student, resulting in him getting kicked off campus.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the student, identified only as “John Doe” out of fear of retaliation, was required to take a diversity course to graduate and signed up for psychology professor Katharine Kujawa’s Contemporary Issues in Human Sexuality. As part of the course, students signed a confidentiality agreement not to discuss what students reveal outside of class.
During the course, one of the lectures was on transgenderism. Instead of speaking about transgenderism in class out of fear of upsetting transgender classmate "Jane Roe," John Doe offered to discuss the topic privately with Kujawa during her office hours for half credit.
Kujawa’s account asserts she asked John Doe how he would react if the transgender student approached him outside of class. Kujawa claims John Doe said that if the student did not leave him alone, he would “break her face.”
According to John Doe, however, the incident was a misinterpretation. He alleges he was recounting an instance in which he had an altercation of with a member of the LGBTQ community who groped his girlfriend.
The complaint alleges Kujawa then told Jane Roe not to sit near John Doe, and even pulled her aside after class to inform her John Doe did not approve of her lifestyle and was a danger to her.
Kujawa also advised Jane Roe to file a Title IX report against Doe. Jane Roe reportedly responded by showing Kujawa a knife and saying she “knew what she needed to do.” Jane Roe then filed a Title IX report.
Months later, John Doe was called into the dean’s office and served the complaint. He was told he could not be on campus during the investigation and was escorted off campus. He was also told that if he returned to campus, he would be charged with trespassing.
John Doe alleges he was ordered to write a letter apologizing to Jane Roe, but it was never delivered.
The Title IX office determined John Doe harassed Jane Roe by creating a “hostile environment.” The university upheld the Title IX decision and suspended John Doe.
John Doe was also ordered to permanently cease contact with Jane Roe (he alleges he had never spoken to her in the first place), undergo anger management courses, take civil rights training, and fill out a campus safety questionnaire before he would be allowed to reenroll.
John Doe appealed the decision to the Montana Board of Regents, but the decision was upheld.
John Doe is now suing Montana State University for $225,000 in damages in federal court, alleging the school discriminated against him on the basis of sex, violated his First Amendment right to free speech and due process, violated the rights in the Montana constitution, and demonstrated negligence and a breach of contract.
John Doe maintains he has the right to express his views “without punishment for his beliefs.” He also claims the school treated him differently from Jane Roe, who appears to have faced no punishments for brandishing a knife while threatening him.
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