And at what point do we rally and burn down this ivory tower?

A Christian postgraduate student has been expelled from his course, effectively ending his chances of a career as a social worker, for voicing opposition to gay marriage in a Facebook discussion.

Felix Ngole, a 38-year-old father of four, expressed support for Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky in the US who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences after the introduction of same-sex unions in September last year.

He argued that homosexual activity is against the teaching of the Bible, quoting a verse from Leviticus describing it as an “abomination”.

Cue the usual jokes about burning those who wear drip dry shirts while eating shrimp. However:

The post, from his private Facebook account, was part of a discussion thread in which other users voiced their opinions on all sides of the debate.

Entirely private life note.

It was not until two months later that he was summoned to a disciplinary hearing at Sheffield University after a fellow student complained about his post.

He said he was initially not even told what he was accused of doing. He was eventually told that it involved breaching social work guidelines on “personal conduct” and “bringing the profession into disrepute”.

At a further hearing, a university “fitness to practise” panel concluded that he was entitled to his opinion on the issue of gay marriage but that there was a danger he “may have caused offence to some individuals” by voicing it.

They concluded that, even though he was not yet even qualified as a social worker, his comment on the Facebook thread would affect his ability to operate in the profession.
As a result he was effectively expelled from the university, ordered to hand in his student ID and even his library card.

Whut?

In a letter expelling Mr Ngole from the university, a departmental official said: “Members of the committee expressed serious concerns about the level of insight you had demonstrated with regards [sic] to the comments you posted on Facebook.

“The committee were clear to point out that their decision is not based on your views but on your act of publicly posting those views such that it will have an effect on your ability to carry out a role as a social worker.

“Members were in agreement that this action was an extremely poor judgement on your part and had transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the social work profession.

“It was their belief that this may have caused offence to some individuals.”

So what is it that we do with this university? Immediate thoughts include a three foot metal file with which we roger them sideways. Possibly a large cheese grater. But upon consideration I feel that only burning the place to the ground, selling the faculty into bondage and then ploughing the ground with salt will do.

Academia Hallun Delenda Est

We are, after all, at war with these people, they pose a grave threat to our civilisation.

49 comments on “And at what point do we rally and burn down this ivory tower?

  1. Social media profiles can be accessed easily via a search engine. For this reason people working in these areas (psychologists , social workers etc.) are encouraged (or compelled) to use pseudonymic facebook profiles to keep their privste life private.

  2. You don’t think that would be a slight overreaction? If he wants to go into Christianist social work there’s plenty of alternative places to do it.

  3. MrsBud was told by one of her lecturers (she was a mature student) that she’d be missed as it had been a pleasant change to have a student offer an alternative point of view. She’s not opposed to gay marriage, but she’s a libertarian who does not believe in the magic money tree and believes people are responsible for their actions. She used to rock up to tutorials in her jag, now she drives to work in her BRG XF.

  4. No Tim. The correct reaction to this is not humour. It is to send this gentleman to a very active and aggressive Christian lawyer who can demonstrate to the university how in situational bigotry can have financial consequences.

  5. The half of the story I didn’t quote is from this man’s very aggressive and very Christian lawyer and what she’s going to do to these people.

  6. Absolutely Tim.

    Isis and mad ragheads with bombs and machetes are a nuisance of course but they are not and have never been an existential threat to our way of life .

    as you rightly say the real danger is this kind of lefty touchy feely, policy based evidence shite which ha infected enormous swathes of public life and the politcial class.

    It is genuinely scary, but on the bright side it is like the last days of the roman empire, these fuckers will get roasted alive by teh barbarians, and as long as !’ve got my hillside and my smith and wesson, I don’t give a massive fuck for western civiliaztion.

  7. Matthew L: This shithole is supported by our money.

    It is good they have established expulsion for political reasons as a precedent.

    The purge should start at Sheffield then.

    All leftist “teachers”/staff sacked on the spot sans compo and pensions.

    Huge leftist noise and agitation follow from Shef Red Guards and leftscum at all other Unis.

    Then a meeting is announced at Sheffield and every other Uni in the UK on the pretext that there is to be a massive simultaneous protest about events at Sheffield. Every staff leftist and Red Guard in each Uni will be invited.

    In the meantime the bluebottles –supplemented by thousands of pick-axe handle etc armed thugs will be quietly moving into position around every campus.

    When the day of protest dawns the Uni lefties will all be gathered–supposedly to hear details of a mega-protest. Suddenly they will be surrounded by thugs–costumed and civvies–and told that the staff are getting the same as those in Shef and all the Red Guards are being expelled, blackballed from influence-based jobs for life (by legislation) and their student debt will be surcharged to 10-20 times its original level. Enough to effectively ruin them for life unless they win the lottery or something. They are also told that they are out of the Uni -ie now– with no time to pack and a rail warrant back to Mummy and Daddy’s house. They will be escorted straight to the station from the meeting( Hope they brought their coats Brrr!!.) Understandably they will be miffed by these developments and if trouble is their aim the large numbers of thugs on hand will be happy to meet and overmatch their desire for violence.

    Job done and the rest of the UKs hardworking students can get on with their education minus assorted socialist parasites.

  8. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    Surely a government-appointed registrar who refuses to register/notarise contracts as directed by their employer does certainly deserve to be fired for professional misconduct. Because they aren’t doing their job. If they have a personal objection to notarising such contracts they should either work out mentally how to separate their professional and private life (as many of us do since all work is at most two steps removed from prostitution itself), or if they cannot cope with that, seek alternative employment.

    I also agree that this guy needs an anonymous Farceberk profile should he wish to publicly defend his opinions – whatever those opinions are. Those of us in any kind of profession are aware that our attributable public statements could come back to bite us or people we don’t want bitten. You don’t have to be particularly famous (yet) for this to be an issue.

    Finally, as a graduate of said university (OT the “Student ID” and library card were one and the same document back in my day), I’m unimpressed with their establishment of kangaroo courts and would be fully behind any legal challenge to this guy’s expulsion.

  9. I’d like to see the original text.

    I’ve argued on Facebook and had some insults from people I thought were quite reasonable, because they just didn’t like their opinions to be challenged. And I wasn’t like “you’re a twat”, but more like “ok, but have you considered…”. I thought I was being helpful. I got called a Daily Mail reading Tory, until I pointed out a BBC source that backed me up, at which point they blocked me.

    There is a certain amount of “avoid the n00bs” about this. Don’t argue on Facebook or Twitter, because you’re arguing in a bad environment. You come here, Fark.com, Samizdata and it’s full of people who’ve been writing stuff since the 90s. People who don’t get pissy about other viewpoints.

  10. Writing on the internet 101.

    Never write something easily attributable to yourself unless you are happy for it to be…
    – On the front page of the Daily Mail
    – Read out in court
    – Read by your mother
    – Read by your boss.

    These people are twats and I hope he wins, but it’s usually wise to be circumspect to avoid a lot of bother.

  11. This is why those who piously demand everyone only post under their real name on the internet are fools

    Discussed this case with Mrs Devonchap who is employment judge and she says he will win at the High court and get damages of £1.

    The rule of thumb in social work is you can be in favour of pretty much everything. but not against anything.

  12. ‘May’ have caused offence. What is the committee doing in their deliberations if they can’t even establish if causing of offence occurred.
    Air drop them at night at the top of the Kinder Scout and make them walk back to their comforts.

  13. If I was him I’d double up with a racial discrimination suit too.

    But the religious one is a winner. He should get his lawyer to ask the council, in court, if he would have been expelled had he been a Muslim. Hopefully not all of the jury would laugh.

  14. If he were a practising social worker, and particularly if he had been warned before about his online conduct, perhaps the idea of “bringing the profession into disrepute” might have been half reasonable.

    A much more proportionate “punishment” for him would, it seems to me, have been a written or verbal warning PLUS SOME SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING (which probably should be given to all their trainees in fact)… If you’re working in sensitive areas, having an identifiable FB profile is of dubious wisdom, making sensitive public posts from it an act of folly.

  15. IanB.. It’s well known that when you study Humanities or Liberal Arts , the only way to get a degree is to agree with whatever the pet peeve of the lecturer/professor is at that moment.
    It doesn’t matter where that opinion comes from ( see mr Ecks): Go against the Grain, and you will be Pariah’d and ostracised.

    It’s a given for any “academic” subject where theory is based on Opinion instead of falsifiable fact. Especially the ones where the “degree” is on a fraction of a sub-subject of an anecdote of the entire science.

  16. Contra the flow of debate here though, I’d be more concerned about the views expressed than the potential offence caused.

    His views on sexuality are a minority opinion now though were far more prevalent 40, even 30, years ago, and views on sexuality were still a “controversial debate” within the last 20 years. Some interesting social markers are the first gay MPs coming out, the first sportspeople, the first gay adoptions, and the surprisingly late equalisation of age of consent and removal of Clause 28 – the latter two being by no means uncontroversial or unopposed in parliament. From that point on the taboo was pretty much gone, and what followed -leading up the gay marriage debate – was more about equalising rights than accepting the existence of alternative sexualities. Toleration, at least, had become a strong social norm and condemnation of homosexuality had become a bit odd.

    This bloke still hasn’t got to the “acceptance and tolerance” stage yet. But within living memory there were folk convicted just for having gay sex, so it isn’t as if he is centuries behind the rest of society. Given his age he is really only about one generation behind.

    Anyway my beef with him isn’t for his views on sexuality itself – they might be out of line with most people but I don’t think having odd views should be a barrier to working in a profession unless those views make you absolutely unable to perform the functions of that profession.

    What worries me more is that the person he supported in his argument is someone who refused to perform their legally mandated professional duties because of their personal views. That is a rather more worrying sign, particularly when that person’s actions were discriminatory and our chap’s public opinions might lead us to suspect he, too, would like to be discriminatory given half a chance.

    Having said that, society needs functionaries prepared to disobey orders if those orders are stupid or evil. Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia may have been somewhat less lethal environments had there been a few such more functionaries. Though functionaries trying that trick would have to accept there was a substantially greater risk of death from following their consciences. I don’t stand in this universe with a unique ability to determine what is good and what is evil and whether these ideas are even “real” or universal or meaningful at all. I can’t deny this chap’s right to a conscience, even if I think his opinion on evil is rather ill-suited to modern British environs. If he feels he is being asked to do the devil’s work and assist in the propagation of evil, I can understand him kicking back. But he should understand that doing so in the public arena he did, was handing on a plate to his superiors – who may well have wanted rid of someone they had been finding troublesome tor some time, if his personal crusading zeal hadn’t gone unnoticed in other aspects of the course – a gold-lined opportunity to get him out of their hair.

    I still lean to thinking they were wrong to do so, on the face of the facts provided, but them’s the risks, lad. If you want to crusade, do it in your own time, on your own dime and on your own head be it. There are more efficacious ways to crusade (and times and places) without looking like a prat and putting your future in jeopardy.

  17. Utterly repugnant. I agree with MyBurningEars and others, that social media advice should be handed out on day one. The people in need of a social worker are more likely to go digging for this kind of dirt, and respond badly when they find it. Obviously, any manager would have to pass the case on if that happens, and take action if one worker got burned too often. That needs to be pointed out, but equally, it has to be treated as a risk inherent in the job, something the management should be coping with.

    To deny training, and even the chance of employment, over a private conversation that didn’t affect anyone except the utter scumbag that complained about it? To deny someone the freedom to voice their opinion in any forum open to the people they have to work with? (would he be allowed to speak his mind in the pub, given he might be overheard by a friend of a client, or whatever the term is? )

    Never mind that the foundation of social work is surely to help people without judging their views and lifestyle, if at all possible. How is this guy supposed to follow that philosophy, if he himself has to work under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’?

    These people need to have it pointed out, very publicly and very painfully, how they are breeding an utterly dysfunctional, irrational, and philosophically destitute society (irony!). Plan b is to nuke from orbit.

  18. “The people in need of a social worker are more likely to go digging for this kind of dirt”

    I think fellow social workers would be the most likely to go digging for this sort of dirt.

  19. My Burning Ears:

    If he were a practising social worker, and particularly if he had been warned before about his online conduct, perhaps the idea of “bringing the profession into disrepute” might have been half reasonable.

    I’d have thought the “profession” of “social work” (do the rest of us do anti-social work?) has been in disrepute for decades.

  20. @ MyBurningEars
    You may have seen some stuff that is not in Tim’s post but all Mr Ngole is reported to have done was to express sympathy for a County Clerk who refused to carry out “marriage” services (BUT not prevent other clerks from doing so) on religious grounds by saying that homosexuality was condemned in the Bible. “the person he supported in his argument is someone who refused to perform their legally mandated professional duties because of their personal views” In the USA, Roman Catholic nurses are allowed to avoid personally carrying out abortions, so are you condemning them for that. Maybe you should institute a ban on anyone watching Schindler’s List?

  21. Quite amazing how quickly the idea of gay marriage has gone from an absurdity that no one would take seriously to the most sacred piece of dogma there is.

  22. NielsR,

    “To deny training, and even the chance of employment, over a private conversation that didn’t affect anyone except the utter scumbag that complained about it? To deny someone the freedom to voice their opinion in any forum open to the people they have to work with? (would he be allowed to speak his mind in the pub, given he might be overheard by a friend of a client, or whatever the term is? )

    Never mind that the foundation of social work is surely to help people without judging their views and lifestyle, if at all possible. How is this guy supposed to follow that philosophy, if he himself has to work under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’?”

    No. But the difference is that a conversation down the pub doesn’t count as evidence. You can bet that if this happened in a pub and someone had it recorded, he’d be in trouble in the same way.

    And his problem is that while yes, social work isn’t about judging people’s lifestyle, he himself is going to be doing that job and does. Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. You need someone who is going to follow the law on adoptions, ensuring that straights and gays are treated equally. Are you going to hire the “sodomy is the devil’s work” guy, or the guy who is not? Me, I’d hire the latter. Firstly, because I would question how much he’d impose of his own opinion on the job and secondly, that even if he didn’t, do you want the descending shitstorm that would come down if that Facebook post got found?

  23. The “law”is one matter.

    Facebook “shitstorms” need to be stamped out and their SJW authors smashed along with the CM establishment.

    Once a start is made –sacking the Senior Civil Service, closing the BBC, Uni-purges–the message will get around that the days of leftist shitstorms are at an end.

    Also a program of persecution for any authorities who cave in to SJW shite would be easy enough. It would be made clear to any (even non-partisan) Uni admin that caving to SJW “pressure” equals you lose your job/pension etc. If you want to keep your nice cushy Admin job when Red Guards give you trouble–you expel them– not the person they are trying to victimise. (Obviously that would be a stopgap measure prior to a mass Red Guard purge.)

  24. Never mind that the foundation of social work is surely to help people without judging their views and lifestyle, if at all possible.

    Let’s not be naive. The problem here isn’t that he judged views and lifestyles, it’s that he judged the wrong people and came to the wrong conclusions.

    You need someone who is going to follow the law on adoptions, ensuring that straights and gays are treated equally. Are you going to hire the “sodomy is the devil’s work” guy, or the guy who is not?

    Again, this is all about who he criticized, there’s no principle involved. If this guy had said “Tories are an abomination” or “Capitalists are an abomination” or even “White men are an abomination”, we all know nothing would have happened to him. Well, he might have gotten a column in The Guardian or something.

    It’s strictly a who, whom? type situation. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

  25. An East German friend of mine, in a similar context recently said “I had more freedom of speech under Erich Honecker”.

  26. This was a major means of controlling the population under Communism of course. The politically incorrect would quickly find that the only job they could get was sweeping floors. Worst case, they’d never be allowed a job and would remain a burden on their families indefinitely.

    So many hundreds of millions of crushed lives.

  27. John77

    The comparison to nurses having the right not to participate in abortion is an interesting one.

    I think it is probably to the good that they have the legal right not to. Giving someone the choice “either quit nursing or do something you find morally repugnant” is a very harsh thing to do.

    Ultimately there are enough nurses willing to provide those services for them not to need to be legally mandated to do so, and enough nursing work for the others to do which doesn’t touch on their sensitive spot.

    Teachers or social workers who feel they can’t provide non-judgmental services to gay people are in a tougher spot though – there is really no practicable way to work in a “straight people only” environment in those public-facing jobs.

  28. I was going to post a contrarian argument just to go against the flow but MyBurningEars beat me to it.

    What I am failing to understand is why “burn(ing) down this ivory tower” is any worse that what was done to Mr Ngole? In both cases someone is harmed simply because their views are different from what is currently considered acceptable to a small group of others.

    That said this PC bullshit needs to stop.

  29. Abacab

    A Bulgarian friend of mine said something similar about life under Zhivkov – the contemporary Hard Left in the UK is about as evil a group of people as you will see….

  30. @ MyBurningEars
    Thank you for a thoughtful and courteous reply.
    However I still have seen no evidence that Mr Ngole cannot or would not provide non-judgemental social services to Gay people, just because he is alleged to have pointed out that the Bible does say what Ms Davis said that it does. In fact the panel judging him did not condemn him for his views, which they seem to consider compatible with his ambition to be a social worker, just for expressing them.
    On the face of it he appears to be being persecuted for stating an indisputable fact that the PC prefer to hide.
    Basically his “crime” was to open himself to persecution by political agitators and this possible future persecution made him unsuitable for a job as a Social Worker.

  31. “Wonder how it went before gay marriage was legal? Were social workers removed for supporting it?”

    No, the Northern Ireland cake case showed that in the opinion of the Judge you were wrong to refuse to ice a cake promoting a view that was illegal i.e. in support of gay marriage which was not legalised. Such decisions only go one way though.

  32. “Teachers or social workers who feel they can’t provide non-judgmental services to gay people are in a tougher spot though – there is really no practicable way to work in a “straight people only” environment in those public-facing jobs.”

    What about those poor benighted souls who feel they can’t provide non-judgmental services to paedophiles, are you going to get rid of them too? This is what your argument is.

  33. @stigler, I know a hiring manager would prefer someone with no controversial opinions. But really, in this day and age, do you think there’s any practical chance of finding enough to keep his or her team at strength? Abortion, immigration, transgender, heck, someone could take offense if they find out their social worker voted tory once.
    Of course anyone wanting to be a social worker should avoid advertising their views, and if they aren’t careful enough, get in trouble often enough, it may be necessary to sack them to smooth things over. I get that. But this preemptive, super conformism is paralyzing.

  34. An entire Christian university in Vancouver has had its accreditation for law degrees removed because of a code of conduct they give to students to sign on joining the university. Currently going through the courts under human rights I believe

  35. C’mon now.

    Supporting that soi-disant Christian clerk is prima facie evidence of disconnection from reality.

    Even putting aside whether the job of ‘social worker’ should exist in its current form, going public with an Bible-based pile of shit is also prima facie evidence of “don’t let this person near human beings”.

    Unless there’s a Social Worker slice of jobs where Bible-thumping dolts can solace each other without any risk to real people.

    Now, is Sheffield U (the source of my own rather sad Physics’n’maths degree) an Evil Person for throwing the twat out on this evidence? I don’t know the law, so not a major issue for me, unless and until

  36. @abacab,

    Of course your speech to a closed circle of trusted friends – even under an authoritarian regime – is more free than that spouted in the general direction of 7 billion people.

    Unless they had facebook in East Germany, of course, the comparison is meaningless.

  37. @BiG,

    At least there was “approved” cricitism that was tolerated. In my Ossie friend’s context, anything less than glowing praise of the management is not tolerated.

  38. Bloke in Tejas – “Even putting aside whether the job of ‘social worker’ should exist in its current form, going public with an Bible-based pile of shit is also prima facie evidence of “don’t let this person near human beings”.”

    Yes, God forbid someone like Mother Teresa should care for the dying. Much better to leave them to die on their own with no medical care at all.

    Unless there’s a Social Worker slice of jobs where Bible-thumping dolts can solace each other without any risk to real people.

    Now, is Sheffield U (the source of my own rather sad Physics’n’maths degree) an Evil Person for throwing the twat out on this evidence? I don’t know the law, so not a major issue for me, unless and until

  39. john77

    I think we share a fair amount of common ground on this.

    Like you, I suspect many people with opinions which could variously be described as “firm”, “traditional”, “orthodox”, “prejudiced”, or “retarded” – depending on who is doing the describing – are still able to provide excellent and impartial service to people in need. I have known many fierce evangelical Christians who get on perfectly decently, one-on-one, with people whose sexual proclivities they find abhorrent. An interesting example is the controversy surrounding Tim Farron’s election as leader of the Liberal Democrats – he got some pushback because, as an evangelical, he refused to state outright that homosexuality was not a sin, in his opinion. Instead, his retort was that – as a “true liberal” – where people had the right to have the relationships they like (he identified himself as a gay rights supporter, though whether his parliamentary voting record backs this up was part of the dispute) but Christians like him had the right to think what they like, too.

    The idea that he could be so pre-emptively sacked for “making an offensive FB post” (particularly one that, 50 years ago, would simply have stated the moral views of, if not the majority, a serious chunk of the population) seems excessive to me. A more proportionate “punishment” might have been a written warning, perhaps, but more important than punishment would be some social media and sensitivity training (which, like it or not, is pretty much essential in the field of work that he is hoping to go into).

    Like I said, my main concern wasn’t his opinions about gay people; it was his public support for the position that workers hired on the public’s buck should be able to disregard their legal duties and discriminate, in their job, against certain sections of the very public who are paying their wages. That’s what his post suggested. Wouldn’t have sacked him for the post, but it was rather unnerving: would certainly have wanted a long conversation with the guy to check whether his opinion on that matter might affect his professional practice.

  40. Pingback: Animal farm – O Insurgente

  41. I’m reading between the lines a bit here, but it seems that Ngole was on a course leading to a professional qualification in social work, and that’s it a requirement for the qualification that one be deemed fit to practise.

    That being the case, if Ngole’s position is that as a social worker he would sometimes refuse to carry out his duties on behalf of a client in a same-sex relationship, it seems reasonable to me that that should be disqualifying.

    However, expressing a view on social media about goings on in the USA is not a statement of professional intent. So it depends on what he told the hearing.

  42. I used to be in that environment. Got my MSW, license, and everything. And while I usually don’t like to generalize, in this case yes, the entire field is like this.

    And yes, organizations like the NASW are a threat to civilization. They just aren’t smart enough to realize it.

    That’s why I changed careers!

    As for the comments about Ngole not following the Code of Ethics…the Code of Ethics are the problem in the first place! Just as Worstall has discussed exhaustively about the harm done by excessive licensure (and yes, social work has a ton of that as well), it is also extremely harmful to have such a ridiculously specific litmus test as that of social work.

    Of course, just like unnecessary licenses, the Code of Ethics–and this is from the mouths of my professors–is another way for the field to be “more professional.” In reality, it’s a way to make the field LOOK more professional. Just like all of the little certifications and wasteful process recordings (paperwork) are also just to keep up appearances.

    That’s because, while social work is mostly a career of either babysitting or pencil-pushing, people who choose this career end up very jealous of people with real jobs. Social work is well-known for having one of the highest burnout rates of any profession. I could write an entire series of articles about why that is (hint: has little to do with patients/clients), but instead of improving the situation, bureaucrats and administrators have chosen to dress up in a suit, invent new types of “assessments” and “sub-specialties” so they can feel like big kids.

    How else do you legitimize a field whose education includes sitting in circles and talking about “active listening”?

    By the way, if you or a loved one is in the care of a social worker to assist with mental health issues, RUN. They are not nearly adequately trained in mental health (I know, because my bachelor’s was in actual psychology), and what little knowledge they may have is drenched in political ideology. Personally, I’d sooner go to a Scientology audit center.

  43. One more thing…

    Just like many other “tolerant” professions, social work is far from it. Just ask my professors who wasted my tuition money talking about politics all class session long, or playing a game of “which republican is a closeted homosexual.”

    Ironic, isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.