PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A former student is suing the Rhode Island College School of Social Work saying he was punished for his conservative views.
William Felkner said after enrolling in 2004, he realized he would have to adopt a left-wing ideology to get a master’s degree.
Felkner said the school discriminated against him by penalizing his grades, filing ethics charges and delaying his graduation.
I'm sure we have all met someone and questioned why they are becoming a social worker. And we all know the person that we wish would not become a social worker. However, should political ideology have anything to do with it? It's hard to imagine social work without left wing ideals, but doesn't that just mean I need to imagine harder?
If you are to look at social work ethics, there is no dividing line of political ideologies. You must maintain the best interest of the client, you must protect confidentiality, you must not abuse your relationship, you must respect the worth of all persons...and more along those lines.
However, this case is interesting in that we really don't know if there was any discrimination. There are no examples of what the student alleges took place and we really have no idea how his "conservatism" manifests.
I believe that one can be conservative and still adhere to social work values. You can even be against governmental interventions and adhere to them. It will make your job 10x harder, but you can still do it.