Michigan State Professor Sued by Students Forced to Pay Subscription Fees
Two Michigan State University students are suing their professor, saying she forced them to pay subscription fees to fund her personal political group.
Second-year students Nathan Barbieri and Nolan Radomski claim their instructor, Amy Wisner made it a class requirement for each of her roughly 600 students to pay a $99 subscription fee to 'The Rebellion Community' as part of their coursework.
What is 'The Rebellion Community?'
After a little investigating, the pair discovered that 'The Rebellion Community' was created and controlled solely by Wisner and that she used the subscription fees she had collected to fund personal political causes.
In the filing, the students claim a First-Amendment violation, saying that Wisner used some of the nearly $60,000 collected from students for donations to programs she endorsed, such as Planned Parenthood.
Barbieri and Radomski say donations to Planned Parenthood go against their beliefs, as they are diametrically opposed to abortion.
"Defendant Wisner controlled The Rebellion Community and used the membership fees to finance her own political advocacy and to support external groups—including Planned Parenthood—that engage in political speech that is antithetical to the Plaintiffs’ deeply held beliefs," according to the 88-page filing.
Professor Disputes Students' Claim
Wisner, however, says the required membership fees are used for access to technology and to pay guest speakers and claims to receive none of the proceeds from the subscriptions.
“Your professor does not receive any financial compensation from your membership fees as that would be a conflict of interest,” the disclosure read, according to The New York Post.
But on Wisner's personal Facebook page, she posts that fees paid for membership to The Rebellion Community are all donated to Planned Parenthood.
Michigan State University has placed Wisner on leave and has refunded the $99 subscription fee to each of Wisner's students.
Barbieri and Radomski say that the refund came from the school and have not dropped the lawsuit since their professor still has the money.