Written by: Natalia Perez
In today’s modern environment, conservative thought is frequently under attack. Put simply, having opposing views from today’s societal status quo is greeted with shame and disdain. Freedom of thought and expression is constantly suffocated through censorship and cancel culture. Being outspoken is a liability for conservatives because of the very real risk of being socially punished.
Especially in education, where one would believe that opposing thoughts would be celebrated, differing views are instead frowned upon. This can be seen by looking at former University of San Diego (USD) master’s student Nicholas Ratekin. Nick was a promising student, earning a 3.7-grade point average. It is no surprise that he attended the university on an academic scholarship. Nick was also a successful water polo coach at Canyon Crest Academy (CCR). He led the team to back-to-back CIF titles for the boys and girls water polo teams in his first two seasons as head coach. After completing all the necessary coursework, he needed a student-teacher position to complete the curriculum and ultimately graduate. Wasting no time, Nick quickly got hired at CCR. All things considered; Nick was on his way to a promising career until word broke out that he was a Republican.
The University of San Diego’s mission statement makes it clear that USD is committed to “creating a diverse and inclusive community, and preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service.” In Nick’s case, this mission statement is completely contradicted. On one particular occasion, Nick was confronted by USD Program Director Dr. Reyes Quezada. Dr. Quezada is the department chair for the SOLES Teacher Program at USD. SOLES being an acrostic for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. The confrontation was initiated after Dr. Quezada discovered that Nick was a Trump supporter. Enraged, the professor inappropriately claimed that being a Trump supporter was “inappropriate” and “deplorable,” furtherly stating that “being a Trump supporter was unthinkable as a teacher in Chula Vista.” Nick said that the professor was conflicted with how a Trump supporter could also be a social justice advocate. Nick, however, accurately rebutted that “politics does not have to be intertwined with social justice issues.”
Following their confrontation, Nick was disenrolled from his master’s program in Education and Student teaching. His disenrollment had no written explanation or rationale. USD just notified him that he would no longer continue his studies at the school.
To make matters worse, USD used their bully pulpit of cancel culture to terminate his employment at CCR, a school in which he had an impeccable reputation. His termination was again met with no written explanation or rationale. It is particularly mind-boggling because Nick never talked about politics in the classroom or with his students. After all, not only would it be inappropriate, but he was mindful of how his views would be greeted. A fellow teacher even asked him if he was a Trump supporter after seeing his “Keep America Great” bumper sticker. He refused to partake in the conversation. Hypocritically, that same teacher also kept Obama and Hillary Clinton stickers in her classroom. Weeks after his dismissal at CCR, the principal notified him that their school “will be moving in another direction” for their head water polo coach.
Due to Nick’s conservative beliefs, he lost his jobs and his education, which he has spent thousands of dollars on. Unfortunately, many conservatives face this far too common experience in today’s politically correct/cancel culture environment. The left is all too concerned with shaming and punishing those with differing views, instead of just engaging in simple conversation. Nick is suing the University of San Diego with eight complaints, including breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and untrue and misleading advertising in violation of California business and professions code section 17500. Nick is confident that, unlike our education system, the judicial system will maintain its integrity and not succumb to the “woke mob” of modern liberalism.
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