Great response! Great discussion! We could go around in circles all day with this one: point, counter point.
You took a course in "mountain photography" in college? Isn't that a requirement right there? I imagine you wouldn't have been turfed for taking a picture of a flower but the point of the course was: mountains. "Today we're going to take some pictures of mountains."
No, no one is required to purchase any special gear to participate. I'm a musician, I play trombone. If I start going on about mouthpieces and repertoire in this forum I would be shut down or flamed fairly quickly for being WAAAYYY off topic. That was my point about the film camera. We here because we love film cameras: toy cameras, slr, lf, mf, rf, etc.
I think that it is not an unreasoable requirement at all. This is not a university in the middle of nowhere (although some would argue that point...). For some students getting that new edition text IS the equivalent of a rare manuscript in terms of financial needs.
It sounds great the things that you would teach. It all makes sense. Others would teach different things based on what they know, what they think the student should know and what they think the student should teach later on. I think this type of course with its requirements is a way of teaching photography and being able to "level the playing field" or the teaching field. He could choose to teach a course on LF photography. That would also be elitist. Same for MF, digi, pinhole, whatever. He has chosen to go with manual SLR. Horrors!! I don't see the problem.