An education student at a university in New York was suspended after his Instagram posts were brought to the attention of the school’s administration. The school says education students have to abide by the rules of their profession, which include “protecting the mental and emotional well-being of all students.”
In one of the posts, Owen Stevens, a student at the State University of New York-Geneseo (SUNY-Geneseo), said “A man is a man, a woman is a woman. A man is not a woman and a woman is not a man.”
Some of his peers did not agree with his stance on biology and reported the posts to the university’s administration.
The university’s administration responded by suspending Stevens from all field teaching programs, which are mandatory for education students. The school argued that his claims “call into question” a teacher’s requirement to “maintain a classroom environment protecting the mental and emotional well-being of all students.”
“After review of all available materials, I find that, based on your continued public stance and social media presence, you do not consistently demonstrate behaviors required by the Conceptual Framework of the School of Education,” the Dean of the school of education wrote in an email to Stevens informing him of the suspension.
To get the suspension lifted, Stevens was told he has to complete a remediation plan, which involves deleting the posts on his Instagram account, reducing his social media presence, and attending a training he dubbed “re-education.”
The suspension email also suggested that future teachers like Stevens are expected to support “all forms” of gender identity. The email said that his stance on biology conflicts with the Dignity for All Students Act in the state of New York.
According to SUNY-Geneseo, Stevens also violated its inclusivity doctrine, which states that teachers should promote “a diverse campus community marked by mutual respect for the unique talents and contributions of each individual.”
According to the Daily Wire, who spoke to Stevens, the University’s president also sent a campus-wide email condemning Steven’s posts without directly mentioning him.
The email read:
“Yesterday, I was made aware of a current student’s Instagram posts pertaining to transgender people,” wrote SUNY-Geneseo President Denise Battles . “I want to take this opportunity to publicly restate my deep personal commitment to promoting social justice.”
In the email, the president also said the university would have liked to “reduce the pain” Stevens’ remarks caused, but could not punish him because of “clear legal limitations.”
A university spokesperson refused to go into the details of the issue. However, they suggested that Stevens was expected to abide by the rules of his chosen profession.
“By choosing to enter into certain professional fields, students agree to abide by the professional standards of their chosen field.
At times, these professional standards dictate that students act and behave in certain ways that may differ from their personal predilections,” the university’s spokesperson said.
Stevens maintains he won’t comply with the university’s demands.