Michigan State University students are taking legal action against their former professor after she allegedly required her students to donate to left-wing causes for fear of failing the class.
Nathan Barbieri is a sophomore business student at the school and one of the plaintiffs who filed suit on Thursday, alleging the former professor, Amy Wisner, breached his First Amendment rights.
“It was completely shocking having to find out through social media post that your money is going to causes that are extremely left-wing and just against your ideological beliefs,” Barbieri told ‘America’s Newsroom’ co-host Dana Perino Thursday. “It was truly heartbreaking.”
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“We found posts that said Planned Parenthood, and that was like the first one that really stuck out, and there were other causes and things that were involved, but that was like the main one that students caught on to,” Barbieri said. “And seeing that, we just knew something had to happen because that’s not right and that’s immoral.”
According to the lawsuit, the “far-left” professor compelled each of her 600 students to pay $99 for a membership, which collectively could have amounted to, at most, $59,400 for an entity called “The Rebellion Community.”
Wisner said, “The Rebellion community is a safe place to coordinate our efforts to burn everything to the f—ing ground,” according to the lawsuit. A post of Wisner’s Facebook page said, “100% of membership fees are donated to Planned Parenthood.” Other causes it supported included those “dismantling oppressive systems.”
The lawsuit also alleges the platform is controlled by Wisner herself, raising additional ethics concerns.
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“Professors can’t force students to fund their political ideology as a requirement for a required course, but that’s what happened here,” Alliance Defending Freedom’s Tyson Langhofer said Thursday. “The professor forced all the students to join this website called The Rebellion and said that she wasn’t going to benefit at all from it. But they later find out she put a Facebook post that said that all proceeds, 100% would go to Planned Parenthood.”
“And there was a platform that Michigan State has that can do the exact same thing, so she forced these students to pay 100 bucks and got no benefit out of it,” he continued. “There was no curriculum required or necessary for this website. The First Amendment prohibits that. The government can’t compel students to fund speech that they disagree with as a requirement for passing a course.”
Fox News Digital has since confirmed that Wisner, the self-identified “intersectional feminist,” is no longer a business professor at the school.
The school released a statement confirming students have been reimbursed for their payments.
“The university does not comment on pending litigation. I will note that Amy Wisner is not currently employed by the university and the College of Business has reimbursed students for the cost of their subscription,” Michigan State University spokesperson Dan Olsen said in a statement.
Despite the school’s apparent attempts to make the situation right, Langhofer urged other college students nationwide to stand up for their beliefs and their right to express them in wake of the incident.
“Students need to be able to stand up like Nathan does,” Langhofer said. “When public universities violate their rights, they need to take a stand for that because, you know, public universities should be the marketplace of ideas. They shouldn’t be an echo chamber for one ideology.”
Fox News’ Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.