An employee at the University of Iowa School of Law has filed suit against the academic institution alleging that she was denied a position due to her conservative viewpoints.
Teresa Wagner, associate director of Writing Resource Center at Iowa University, took her case before a jury in Davenport on Monday. Wagner argued that while extensively qualified for a teaching position at Iowa, she was rejected due to her conservative viewpoints and her past experience working with socially conservative groups.
Before coming to Iowa, Wagner had done legal work on behalf of the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life Committee, arguing pro-life, anti-same sex marriage, and anti-euthanasia positions.
In her argument, Wagner pointed out that 46 of the 50 faculty members who considered her teaching appointment were Democrats, while one was Republican. Furthermore, Wagner said that opposition to her getting the position was led by Iowa professor Randall Bezanson, who was a law clerk for Chief Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the majority opinion of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
According to University of Iowa Law School's website, the school values diversity, boasting of having a "longstanding commitment to inclusion and diversity."
"The University of Iowa was the first public university to admit men and women on an equal basis in 1855. Following in that tradition, the College of Law has led many diversity and equity initiatives," reads the webpage entitled "Diversity at Iowa Law."
"For example, in the 1870s, we became one of the first law schools in the nation to grant a law degree to a woman and to an African-American."
Iowa's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity's Nondiscrimination Statement states that the university "prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference."
Wagner's case against the University of Iowa comes around the time that Gallaudet University of Washington, D.C., is experiencing fallout for a similar incident of a possible ideologically-driven employment decision.
Last week, Gallaudet officials decided to put Dr. Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer and the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. at the academic institution, on paid leave over her signing a petition to support a referendum on marriage definition in Maryland.
The decision received a strong backlash not just from social conservatives, but also supporters of same-sex marriage who felt the move by Gallaudet was inconsistent with the themes of tolerance and inclusion.
"We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately. Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6, which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law," said Josh Levin of Marylanders for Marriage Equality in a statement.
Tom Moore, a spokesman for the University of Iowa, told The Christian Post that the university could not comment on the matter due to it involving pending litigation.
Teresa Wagner did not return comment by press time.