Julea Ward, a Christian graduate student at Eastern Michigan University, was expelled from the university's counseling program for not affirming homosexual behavior as acceptable, according to a recent article.
Because Ward did not agree to affirm a client's homosexual behavior prior to a counseling session and would not retract her stance in subsequent disciplinary proceedings, she was dismissed from the program.
EMU requires that all students in its counseling program affirm homosexual behavior within the context of a counseling relationship. They must also never tell their clients that homosexual behavior can be changed.
Ward refused to to attend a "remediation" session EMU mandated she undergo to see the "error of her ways" and change her "belief system." Upon her refusal, EMU required that Ward either voluntarily leave the program or ask for a formal faculty review hearing. Ward selected the latter option, at which the faculty belittled her Christian standpoint.
According to David French, Senior Counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom
, an academic institution should not have the right to remove a students simply because of their religious or moral convictions. He also believes that Ward's response to this situation was very responsible and professional.“Christian students shouldn’t be penalized for holding to their beliefs,” French said. “When a public university has a prerequisite of affirming homosexual behavior as morally good in order to obtain a degree, the school is stepping over the legal line. Julea did the responsible thing and followed her supervising professor’s advice to have the client referred to a counselor who did not have a conscience issue with the very matter to be discussed in counseling.”
What do you think about EMU's decision to remove Ward because of her refusal to affirm homosexual behavior? Do you think EMU had a good reason to dismiss her, or do you agree with French, that the university is "stepping over the legal line?"