Student says teacher insulted transgender people in economics class

Cassandra Walker attends Eastern Michigan University but takes summer classes at Washtenaw Community College.

That may change after hearing what an economics instructor said out of the blue on Tuesday about Caitlyn Jenner, asking the class what they thought of the transition.

"About 40 minutes into class, going over domestic, gross domestic product," Walker says. "Completely unrelated, he turns around and asks the class if we saw the picture of Bruce Jenner."

"He then said anyone like that has a mental disorder and there's seriously something wrong with them," Walker says. 

Cassandra says most of her fellow students agreed with the instructor and a few chimed in.

"They're also making comments about it, how he's prettier than Kim, his ex-wife; they were saying that and laughing."

It hit close to home for more reasons than one.

"I'm actually dating someone that's transgender and they're currently going through the transition," Cassandra says. "And to have someone say that and talk negatively about transgender individuals - it hurts. You don't like someone talking about someone that you love."

Cassandra walked out and tried to drop the class but is too far into the semester.

And when she tried to report what happened, she claims she got the run around.

"The lady that I talked to, said they probably won't believe you," Cassandra says. "If it's just one student reporting it, they probably won't take the student's side."

"She sent me over to human resources; human resources say they couldn't do anything about it. They sent me to find the dean. 

"They sent me to another office, then they told me that they didn't know who I could talk to, because there was an interim dean."

WCC called Cassandra Wednesday after we called the school asking for a comment.

Susan Ferraro is the director of media relations and says they're investigating Cassandra's complaint.

"We do have an LGBT support group on our campus," Ferraro says. "And we do have a dean of inclusion and diversity; we hold activities all semester to appeal to students in that group. And we want them all to feel welcome and comfortable here."

FOX 2 spoke with students at WCC about what allegedly happened.

"I don't think anybody should be judging," says Akisha People. "They definitely shouldn't put in class like that."

"It has nothing to do with the class," says Montrel Hill. "But at the same time you do have to keep up with your current events."

"It's an economics class," says Chris Wheeler. "I'm not sure why it was even brought up."

Neither is Cassandra.

FOX 2: "Are you more frustrated with how the professor and most of the students disagree with Caitlyn Jenner's situation and decision, or that they disagree?" 

"I don't think it's a problem that somebody disagrees with something," she says. "But to go about it the way that they did is what hurt me the most."

FOX 2 contacted the instructor but he did not respond.

Cassandra was offered an opportunity Wednesday to switch her class but she's thinking about withdrawing from WCC altogether. 

Ferraro issued a statement on behalf of the school:

"This situation was brought to our attention this (Wednesday) afternoon; the college is investigating the student's complaint. Washtenaw Community College has a policy that promotes a climate of access, success and equity for everyone, including people from different ethnic and cultural groups, age levels, religions, sexes, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, physical capacities, learning abilities and income levels."

The school's policy can be found here:
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