Eastern Michigan University Settles with Expelled Counseling Student Julea Ward

Ashley Thorne

Eastern Michigan University will pay $75,000 to settle a suit brought by Julea Ward, a counseling student the university expelled, reports the Detroit Free Press. Ward was dismissed from the counseling program when she was assigned a homosexual client and asked to refer him to another counselor because of her Christian beliefs about homosexuality. 

In January 2012, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her Ward's favor, stating in the opinion that "A reasonable jury could find that the university dismissed Ward from its counseling program because of her faith-based speech, not because of any legitimate pedagogical objective."

NAS filed a friend-of-the court brief in this case and has been following it closely. The helping professions, such as counseling and social work, have proven in recent years to be especially vulnerable to ideological fads (see our report, The Scandal of Social Work Education), and the issue of homosexuality has been a sticking point for those whose views about it do not line up with progressive campus orthodoxy. We take seriously violations of freedom of conscience that have become all too routine on college campuses, and it is good to see vindication for individual rights in this case.

See also:

NAS press release: "Victory for Freedom of Conscience in Ward v. Polite," January 27, 2012. 

Video: “EMU Officials: Change Your Beliefs or Leave the Counseling Program,” Alliance Defense Fund, August 3, 2009.

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