Graduate student seeking degree in school counseling told that she has inappropriate views on homosexuality and told that she must change them

If true, I won't be surprised, though I still find this disturbing. No matter what one's views are on the issue of homosexuality, getting a degree shouldn't be contingent on those views. In fact, I am amazed that someone who thinks that homosexuality is immoral can make it through a graduate program where the issue is discussed.

A graduate student in Georgia is suing her university after she was told she must undergo a remediation program due to her beliefs on homosexuality and transgendered persons.

The student, Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University since 2009, but school officials have informed her that she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct," according to a civil complaint filed last week.

"[Augusta State University] faculty have promised to expel Miss Keeton from the graduate Counselor Education Program not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity," the 43-page lawsuit reads. . . .

What looks to be a very similar case in Michigan was just decided. It looks as if students at public universities who are taking classes to be counselors must first agree to counsel homosexual and then must believe that homosexuality is good or they can't be allowed to be counselors. It seems to me that they should be able to at least recuse themselves from counseling certain people.

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Blogger Raven Lunatic said...

Personally, I don't believe that someone holding and speaking out on a belief that is hurtful and contrary to everything medical and psychological science has to say on the subject has any business being a counselor.

"Kindly ignore the fact that as soon as you started taking your hormonal therapy you went from being suicidally depressed to a happy, productive member of society, you were just confused," is not a reasonable approach to someone who's coming to you, paying you, for help.

How would it be if the question were that of racism? "I'm sorry to hear that you're upset about this, but you have to face the fact that God made negros inferior to white people." Is that the sort of thing that the first amendment should have protected from the imposition of Ethical Standards?

7/29/2010 4:43 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Raven Lunatic:
These students said that they would have excused themselves from those cases. The issue should be up to whoever their future employer is going to be. Why is this an issue for the school that they are in? Take one example. Suppose that they would be counseling at a religious institution. Can't that institution make decisions on what their counselors believe?

7/29/2010 6:22 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

IMHO, if I am paying a State University for an education, that makes them my employee, and cannot break a simple contract such as this because of my beliefs.

Also, one must consider that the First Amendment is quite specific in it's scope when it states; 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;'. Quite a simple problem here. A State run school is violating Jennifer Keeton's civil rights.

8/04/2010 12:03 PM  

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