June 4, 2023

I saw this story yesterday and it seemed too strange to be true. But apparently it really did happen. A professor at MSU is being sued for allegedly forcing hundreds of students to sign up to her progressive website/slush fund at a cost of $99 per student. Now two of the students are suing her and two school administrators who allegedly signed off on this plan.

According to a lawsuit filed Thursday, Amy Wisner, professor of marketing at the MSU College of Business compelled each of her 600 students to pay a $99 membership fee to join an outside organization called “The Rebellion Community” as a condition of participation in her course.

The court document says Wisner controlled The Rebellion Community and used the membership fees to finance her own political advocacy and to support external groups like Planned Parenthood and progressive causes dedicated to “dismantling oppressive systems.”

According to the lawsuit Wisner linked to a Facebook page associated with “The Rebellion Community” and wrote, “The Rebellion community is a safe place to coordinate our efforts to burn everything to the f***ing ground.”

It’s amazing that adults are not widely laughed at for talking like this. That should go double for professors teaching students. In this case, students complained and Wisner was pulled from the class and later fired. She didn’t have anything to say about the lawsuit for a story published this week but did post a statement back in April claiming she was fired for wanting to teach DEI.

…in an April 7 Facebook post, she wrote that “MSU fired me because they did not want me and my guest lecturers to teach diversity, equity, and inclusion to students in the core business communication class.”

“The battle over this issue started in October 2022 and ended about a month ago when they fired me for insubordination,” she said.

She then encouraged readers to check out The Rebel Community “if you are worried about the hateful rhetoric and divisiveness in America, state of our education system, daily threat of gun violence, overt racism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bullying.”

Students were offered a refund which came to roughly $60,000 for all 600 students who were (allegedly) forced to pay for this. The refunds apparently came from the school and not the professor. Maybe the school is trying to get the money back from Wisner or maybe she just kept it. It’s not clear where all the money went. The lawsuit suggests that she may have already spent part of it on an RV for a revolutionary road trip. Jonathan Turley has more:

The complaint alleges that, while Wisner told the students that she would not benefit from the mandatory contributions, she did indeed personally benefit. Furthermore, they allege that she may have used some of the money to buy an RV. The complaint below states:

“On August 16, 2022, Defendant Wisner set up a “GoFundMe” campaign to raise money for ‘an RV roadtrip [sic] around the United States to cocreate communities of rebels committed to doing the work’ and ‘igniting action at the local level.’”

There’s a photo of what looks like a new camper trailer attached to a very environmentally unfriendly dualie pickup in the exhibits of the lawsuit. Also according to the lawsuit, she had pretty much given up on even teaching the subject she was paid to teach.

Defendant Wisner re-designed her course to reflect her own newfound political views. She admittedly stopped assigning grades in the course and stopped teaching traditional forms of business communication in favor of focusing on personal exploration and (what she perceives as) “growth.”

Explaining her new approach on a University-produced podcast, Defendant Wisner acknowledged that she stopped emphasizing forms of communication that students would be expected to know in the business world, but that her discretion permitted her to take the course in the direction she wanted.

Who is going to hire her after a stunt like this? So good luck with the road trip and the institutional arson, I guess. I say that only because I don’t think Wisner is going to accomplish much of anything with any of this beyond what is probably a very long break from teaching. If you want to check out her Rebellion website it’s here. Here’s her pitch.