Former MSU student sues school over suspension related to transgender classmate
Posted: Mar 26, 2017 4:06 PM MDTUpdated: Mar 26, 2017 6:29 PM MDT
By Aja Goare - MTN News
BOZEMAN - A former Montana State University student is suing the school for suspending him after he shared his anti-transgender views with a professor in what he believed to be a private conversation.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Butte by a plaintiff identified as Jon Doe.
Mathew Monforton, who is representing the plaintiff, said his client’s name is being withheld to avoid backlash from the public who may disagree with his “unpopular” views on transgender people.
According to the complaint, Doe was a student at MSU during the summer semester of 2014 when he enrolled in a class titled Contemporary Issues in Human Sexuality.
The class was led by Katherine Kujawa, a graduate research assistant.
Kujawa is named as a defendant along with the University and several other school officials.
At the start of the class, students were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement where they agreed not to discuss or share any information about other students outside of class.
One of the class lectures was about transgender issues.
A student in the class openly told the class that she was transgender, according to the complaint.
Doe objects to transgenderism, according to the complaint, and decided not to participate in the class conversation or the written reflection assignment at the end of class.
Doe instead asked Kujawa for an alternative assignment after class and he shared with Kujawa his discomfort with transgenderism.
According to the complaint, Doe also said he didn’t want to offend the transgender student by sharing his opinions.
Kujawa asked Doe questions about his feelings, according to the complaint, including what he would do if the transgender student approached Doe and wished to speak.
Doe said he would ask his classmate to leave him alone but would then “break her face,” according to Kujawa’s account.
In explaining further, Doe recounted a time in his past when he hit a man, who Doe was not initially aware was gay, for groping his girlfriend.
Doe said he did not remember telling Kujawa that he would “break her face” if the transgender student tried to talk to him.
According to the complaint, Kujawa pulled the transgender student aside after class and informed her that Doe did not approve of her lifestyle and that he could be a danger to her.
Kujawa recommended the student not sit near Doe, according to the complaint.
The transgender student told Kujawa she would file a complaint with the school and when Kujawa asked if she needed an escort, the student allegedly showed her a pocket knife and said she did not need assistance.
The Title IX complaint was filed with the school and an investigation was launched.
READ THE FULL STORY AT KBZK.COM.