LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Two college students have filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan State University, after a professor allegedly made 600 students contribute to her personal political campaign.
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom representing the plaintiffs, sophomore MSU students Nathan Barbieri and Nolan Radomski, filed the lawsuit on May 18, claiming that the students were forced to pay fees, advancing “political messages that the [MSU] officials favor.”
The suit said that the case raises federal questions under the U.S. Constitution, specifically the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Amy Wisner worked as a marketing professor with MSU’s Broad College of Business and taught the course MKT 250.
The suit alleges that Wisner used her authority and university policies to require her students to pay a $99 membership to join an organization unaffiliated with MSU, called “The Rebellion Community.”
“Once Plaintiffs paid the online subscription fee and navigated to the website, they saw a statement that said, ‘Your membership fees are used to (1) pay for use of the technology and (2) pay guest speakers, educators, and facilitators. Your professor does not receive any financial compensation from your membership fees as that would be a conflict of interest.'”
The suit alleges that after collecting the fees, Wisner then used the money to support groups like Planned Parenthood, which attorneys said is “antithetical” to the two plaintiffs “deeply held beliefs.”
The suit names two other defendants: Thomas Jeitschko, MSU’s Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Judith Whipple, Dean of the MSU Broad College of Business.
The suit alleges that Jeitschko was in charge of approving the policy that Wisner required of her students, and that Whipple oversaw policies more closely within the business college.
ADF described Barbieri and Radomski as having “deeply-held religious beliefs,” and that the two oppose abortion as well as laws permitting the operation.
MSU confirmed that Wisner no longer works with the school, and that the university refunded the money to the students.
The school added that they do not respond to ongoing lawsuits.