William Felkner, a former student at the Rhode Island College [RIC] School of Social Work, has filed suit against the school claiming that he was the subject of discrimination based on his conservative views. Felkner claims that professors and administrators used the pretext that Felkner’s views did not comport with the code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers [NASC] which emphasizes the role of social workers in pursuing “social justice” for the “vulnerable and oppressed” members of society. As reported in The Providence Journal:

Felkner’s lawsuit says the RIC School of Social Work discriminated against him by penalizing his grades, filing ethics charges against him, delaying his graduation, and denying him the opportunity to work on welfare reform in the governor’s office — all in retaliation for his conservative views….

Felkner describes himself as a “conservative libertarian” who generally opposes the expansion of government welfare programs and believes “the market economy serves as the best aid to persons of every socioeconomic class, including the poor.”

NASW officials counter that their code of ethics does not prescribe expansion of government programs, although the two may go hand in hand, depending on the situation.

Unable to find the social work internships necessary for his degree, Felkner started the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, which describes itself as being “focused on crafting sound public policy based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, and traditional American values.” In Rhode Island? Good luck.


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