A New York university education student, who was suspended from his school’s mandatory teaching programs for posting an Instagram video expressing conservative ideology, was reinstated to the program.
On March 17, State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo’s Associate Provost for Academic Success Joseph Cope reinstated Owen Steven from a temporary suspension from required field education classes.
Stevens was initially suspended after posting Instagram videos expressing conservative ideologies.
The Daily Wire reported:
SUNY Geneseo sent an email to education student Owen Stevens placing him on suspension from his field teaching programs after his peers uncovered videos of him preaching conservative dogma. The school claims that Stevens’ videos “call into question” his ability to “maintain a classroom environment protecting the mental and emotional well-being of all of [his] students.”
According to the reinstatement documents obtained by The Daily Wire, Stevens must review the state’s “Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe and Support School Environment For Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” documents and must “self-monitor” his social media posts to “ensure that he presents himself in a professional manner.”
The school initially mandated that Stevens partake in what he called “re-education” training. SUNY Geneseo claimed that Stevens would remain suspended from participating in in-school field experiences and courses that have field experiences until he completes a “remediation plan.” The plan included taking down Instagram videos, toning down his social media presence, and attending school-sanctioned training.
The university claimed that Stevens had violated its inclusivity doctrine, which requires teachers to foster a “diverse campus community marked by mutual respect for the unique talents and contributions of each individual.”
In Steven’s initial suspension letter the school’s Dean insinuated that future teachers are required to support all aspects of homosexuality and gender identity. Stevens had failed to do so when he said in an Instagram video that “A man is a man, a woman is a woman. A man is not a woman and a woman is not a man.” The scientific stance of biology was considered “in conflict” with state and school rules.
“You continue to maintain, ‘I do not recognize the gender that they claim to be if they are not biologically that gender,’” the Dean said in a letter to Stevens. “This public position is in conflict with the [state’s] Dignity for All Students Act requiring teachers to maintain a classroom environment protecting the mental and emotional well-being of all students.”
Stevens told The Daily Wire that despite the suspension lift, he still plans on taking legal action against the school.
“This is a huge victory for us … but we need to push back so that destructive policies leave our universities,” Stevens said. “We are still planning legal action … The much larger issue is that the university will almost always back down in the face of negative media attention. Going the legal route will provide legal precedent in order to challenge their policies in court.”