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Posted on Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 5:47 a.m.

Lawyers for dismissed EMU student who wouldn't counsel gay client vow to carry fight to Supreme Court if necessary

By Juliana Keeping

Eastern Michigan University won a court battle last week, but the losing side has since declared war.

Monday, a federal court upheld the school's decision to kick Christian graduate student Julea Ward out of its counseling program after she refused to affirm a gay client’s relationship during a practicum. She said she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay is a choice and therefore could not in good conscience counsel the client.

But Ward’s lawyers said the case is far from over. They will file an appeal, and in the meantime are setting the stage for a battle between the religious rights of students and a university’s power to set and uphold its own ethical, disciplinary and curricular standards. The case could have implications reaching far outside of Ypsilanti.

Thumbnail image for JuleaWard.jpg

Julea Ward says her dismissal from the Eastern Michigan University counseling program violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Photo courtesy of the Alliance Defense Fund

“If it’s upheld, Christians can be told you have to abandon your beliefs to get a degree in counseling,” said Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization that works to uphold the rights of religious college students and faculty. “They could be excluded from counseling programming.”

“We have every intention of appealing this case until we prevail,” Tedesco continued. “If it goes to the Supreme Court, so be it.”

In refusing to counsel the client, Ward told her professors she could not violate her religious beliefs regarding a gay client’s counseling needs, so she referred him instead to another counselor. The January 2009 incident led to a set of review hearings, Ward’s dismissal and the lawsuit, which charged EMU violated her constitutional rights to free speech, religion and due process.

In his ruling, Judge George Steeh said the issue at stake was whether EMU had the right to enforce requirements of equity that are rooted in the field, not whether Ward’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated.

In a statement issued Tuesday, EMU officials said they adhered to the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Ethical Standards of the American School Counselor Association in their decision to dismiss Ward.

Steeh said Ward’s unwillingness to meet with “an entire class” of people was a violation of those codes.

The organization that represented Ward has gone on the offensive. Two days after Ward’s suit was dismissed, the ADF filed a similar lawsuit in a federal court in Georgia. The suit against Augusta State University alleges the school has told a student her Christian views are incompatible with the field of counseling, according to an ADF press release.

What happened to Julea Ward?

In 2006, Ward began EMU’s master’s degree program in counseling. The metropolitan Detroit resident maintained a 3.91 grade point average and was on track to finish her program in May 2010 while working full time as a public school teacher, according to court documents.

On Jan. 26, 2009, she was scheduled to meet with a gay client dealing with relationship issues during a practicum.

Two hours prior to the meeting with the gay student, she asked her supervising professor, Yvonne Callaway, if she could refer the client to another student. Callaway agreed, but Ward’s move prompted the school to schedule an informal hearing because school officials said Ward had violated school and professional standards, including “failure to tolerate different points of view,” court documents show.

In that hearing, EMU officials from the counseling department said they wanted Ward to adhere to a “remediation program” that would require her to affirm and validate homosexual behavior according to the profession's and school’s governing ethics codes, but Ward refused, instead requesting a formal hearing.

In front of the formal review committee March 10, Ward stated she could not in good conscience counsel a client with concerns about a gay relationship in an affirmative way. She would, however, counsel gay clients on any other issue. Ward said that affirming gay relationships “forces me to violate my religious beliefs and conscious.” She said Callaway had laughed at her when she relayed that she would not “sell out” her faith.

In a letter dated March 12, school officials on the four-member review panel notified Ward via letter that they had decided unanimously she would be dismissed from the counseling program immediately.

They found she violated ACA codes of ethics including “Counselors … avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals” and that counselors “do not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, culture … sexual orientation.” Ward’s refusal to change her behavior to fit the codes sealed their decision, according to the letter.

Ward appealed to the EMU School of Education dean, who upheld the panel’s decision via letter March 26. She filed a lawsuit the next month. A judge dismissed the EMU Board of Regents and EMU President Susan Martin as defendants in the lawsuit, and Ward’s claims proceeded against faculty members in the counseling program.

Judge Steeh said in his decision Monday that “the dismissal was entirely due to plaintiff’s refusal to change her behavior, not her beliefs.”

But he also acknowledged the “unfriendly and arrogant remarks” made to Ward during the formal hearing.

Transcripts show the panel frequently interrupted Ward, asked Ward if her “brand of Christianity” was superior to that of other Christians and quizzed her on her views on abortion and whether or not she would counsel those from other religions.

Her lawyers later characterized that disciplinary process as a whole as one that used illegal “speech codes” to silence unpopular views, but the judge disagreed, “because the university’s disciplinary policy is not a speech code but is an integral part of the curriculum.”

The judge wrote Ward “distorted the facts” to support her feeling that she was dismissed due to her religious beliefs. EMU faculty did not want Ward to change her beliefs, but were concerned with her refusal to counsel “an entire class of people whose values she did not share,” Steeh wrote.

Now, Ward is trying to find a way to complete a counseling program at another university, Tedesco said.

Different views

The case has stirred up strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

“This isn't about the thought police," Irene Ametrano, an EMU professor of counseling and chairwoman of Ward's formal review committee, was quoted in Inside Higher Ed as saying. “This is about behaviors that are appropriate or not appropriate within counseling."

Officials at EMU were celebrating their ruling last week.

“Monday's ruling in the Julea Ward case was a major victory for Eastern, and for universities across the country, as the administration and our legal team pursued an aggressive legal approach to protect academic freedom and the academic integrity of our programs and faculty,” wrote Walter Kraft, vice president for communications, in an e-mail to faculty and staff.

Jay Kaplan, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, agreed that EMU has a right to set its own curriculum and acted properly in dismissing Ward. The ACLU was not involved in the case.

“The school was never saying, ‘You can’t hold your viewpoint,’” said Kaplan, who litigates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as part of his organization’s LGBT Project.

“As part of their program, students in the counseling program have to learn to focus on the client, and not issues about their values.”

Ward was unable to do this, he said, as her values were at odds with one of the “intrinsic requirements” of the coursework.

Ward’s lawyers, meanwhile, called the dismissal disappointing and unfair and said referring the client was appropriate.

“There are numerous instances where your values could come into conflict with a client’s goals,” Tedesco said. “The professional practice is to offer referral. Who doesn’t bring their values to work in some way?”

Juliana Keeping is a higher education reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


AAPS Student

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

Oh yes because so many people's dream in life is to be gay and then commit suicide after being teased. It is the new American dream, every popular kid is doing it now! I don't understand how people think being gay is a choice.


Wed, Jan 26, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

I think EMU was wrong to dismiss her when she was only a few credits from obtaining her degree. Did EMU ler her know that was their policy when they admitted her and took her tuition? Ms. Ward asked her supervisor to refer the client to another counselor. Would they have done that to a Muslim student? Muslims don't approve of homosexuality either, remember, there are no homosexuals in Iran, according the Ahmadinejad.


Wed, Aug 25, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

Nowadays if you don't like homosexuality then everyone condems you...A little backwards but isn't everything now...On the other hand as a counselor it should be realized that you are supposed to keep your personal beliefs to the side and just be a body of reasoning for the many young people that look to you for help. If your that strong against homosexuals then you really should check out the Christian Counselor programs..


Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

Ward should win this case. The ACA does not override the Constitution or Federal Law. EMU put itself in this position when it accepted federal taxpayer money (my money and your money). The Civil Rights Division of the DoJ is there to protect religious freedom for all. When cases are decided like this, they usually look at how a student can have a religious exemption if the school requirements conflict with their religious beliefs. EMU made no effort to accommodate Ward's Christian beliefs. Ward had a reasonable alternative to the situation (a referral).


Sat, Aug 7, 2010 : 3:58 p.m.

To those of you who accuse Ms. Ward of discrimination how is it that she discriminated? Perhaps I misread the story and the previous stories, but I am not aware they ever met each other. Did the client complain of discrimination? Doesn't the client have to feel discriminated against? I have a very close friend and former co-worker who I queried on this issue. He is a counselor and counsels people with various issues and paraphilias. He says EMU is way off base. In fact in the real world this happens all the time, counselors refering cases to other counselors due to reasons based on the behaviors of the client and personal issues with those behaviors. That is not unusual, what academia teaches is often far from real life. EMU may be shooting itself in both feet whether they win or loose. This is not going to keep students with issues out of the field. What students might do is take the client but that client will not get the best treatment. Maybe B treatment, but not A treatment. The statute Ed posted is very interesting. It will be interesting to see if the Code of Ethics rises to this standard. I hope EMU didn't base their policy on a CoE without reviewing appropriate case law. That would be a big "oops." To say that professionals have to check their hat at the door is nonsense. Anyone who thinks that apparently does not understand the trauma a rape victim undergoes. I suspect there are rape victims who become counselors for rape victims, but I doubt there are many who counsel rapists. I wonder if EMU would do the same if the roles were reversed, if a gay student counselor was assigned to a redneck who was charged with beating up gay people? I have a feeling that assignment would be purposefully avoided. I think EMU could have handled this much better. It should not have reached this level.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 4:29 p.m.

A professional would not let her personal feelings about sexual preferences interfere with her obligation to help those who sought her services. How would feel about a doctor who refused to treat a physical injury brought about by sexual sadism? You're essentially saying that the profession of psychology isn't all that important. Can you give me examples of psychologists who have made these choices? I could understand a referral to an expert with experience in treating those with sadistic tendencies. But not a so-called professional who said, "I think this is immoral, so I will not treat you. Find someone else." Being a professional of any kind means leaving your personal biases at home.


Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

@Macabre Sunset- What if I used the examples of sado-masochistic sex or copraphilia (a term I don't want to explain), neither of which is a crime but they are problems that some counselors may choose not to deal with. My point is that many therapist choose the patients and the problems that they feel comfortable dealing with and they are not drummed out of the profession. I don't agree with the students views but I think it is wrong to say that counselers must help all patients that come to them or leave the profession.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

Trespass, there are guidelines for how a therapist handles those who have committed crimes (homosexuality is not a crime, by the way). Yes, I would expect someone choosing this career to separate her personal trauma from her patients.


Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 10:36 p.m.

Here's the thing -- Grad school is like a job. Do your job. If you can't (or won't) do the work, then you should expect disciplinary action, up to and including termination. She had a choice. She chose to abandon her responsibilities. So she was fired. Plain and simple. If you can't do the work, go find another job.


Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 5:16 p.m.

@Macabre Sunset- Would you throw a student out of the profession if they were a rape victim and they felt they could not counsel a rapist? Would you throw a student out of the profession if they felt they could not counsel a pedophile? There are counselors that choose to counsel these patients and it is far more helpful to refer the patient to someone who will deal with their problems better. I am sure I will get some hate mail saying I am equating homosexuality with pedophilia or rape, which I am not, but I am saying we all have our limits on what we feel we can deal with. It untrue that "She has chosen a profession where there's an obligation to help anyone who needs help". Counselors choose their patients all the time for a variety of reasons (including whether or not they can afford to pay their fee). She is not being punished because she has a limit on what she can deal with but she is being punished because that limit is not considered socially acceptable at EMU. That is the definition of freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 2:24 p.m.

Her religious views are not the issue here. She has chosen a profession where there's an obligation to help anyone who needs help. She can't turn someone away for counseling related to a sexual preference any more than a medical doctor can turn a patient away who contracted a disease because of sexual behavior.


Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 11:39 a.m.

Of course, re the premature 'ding dinging'from logfellow 'devout christianity' is not defined as a malady requiring counseling( although it some cases..and others of religious maybe should be!). And how likely is it that a hyper-religious sort would seek out a gay counselor in any case? ( Whereas gays, being a minority, usually have to roll the dice re. seeking help from the largely straight counseling..or any other.. profession). So ( yet another) false analogy. Big surprise.

Bill Wilson

Wed, Aug 4, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

what if Ward was gay and could not counsel a client because the client was a devout christian? Does anyone really think she would have been fired? As stated by others - what bothers me is she followed the process of the department and deferred to another counselor - and then she was fired for following that process??? DING DING DING... we have a winner here. Exactly... and this is why the lady will ultimately win the case.

Charley Sullivan

Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 6:37 p.m.

Yes, trespass. Pharmacists are bound by the ethics of their profession to dispense all legal prescribed medications, including legal medications that can be used for abortion. And if they can't, they need to leave the profession.


Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 6:14 p.m.

Is everyone who is opposed to her electing not to counsel a gay patient about his relationship also opposed to a pharmacist refusing to dispense a "day after pill" or a lab tech refusing to perform tests that may lead to an abortion? If not, I am interested in the reasoning.

Charley Sullivan

Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 5:30 p.m.

So Julea Ward would counsel me on my job, my parents, and any variety of other things but not about my relationship? I'm no less gay in any of those other elements of my life, and my relationship isn't particularly different. This all stems from certain types of Christians maintaining that heterosexuality is superior to other ways of loving; in this, they are wrong, out and out wrong, and their heterosexual superiority, dressed up in religion or not, in unacceptable in any health or teaching profession. EMU is 100% right on this one, and people who disagree on the issue, are, to my mind, bigots. Full stop.


Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 4:54 p.m.

Ok, let's assume that she is already a counselor and a client comes to her for help with anxiety, and after a few months of counseling the client brings up his or her being gay and having problems with a relationship due to the anxiety. Does then Ms Ward refuse to counsel the client further? Does she tell the client that it is a choice (and a sinful choice, I'm assuming) to be in the relationship? This would further hurt the client who has come to her for help. Rarely are there single issues that can be dealt with in counseling. There are usually interconnections to various aspects of the person's life and relationships. You can predict that she would, if she were a counselor for a number of years, have such a circumstance arise. It is statistically probable. She needed to be encouraged to change her approach to counseling others. To address one of the issues raised above, yes a Palestinian counselor should be competent to counsel Jews and vice-versa. Inclusion and tolerance is necessarily a part of the helping professions. Certainly counselors do struggle to enlarge their worldviews. They are human. But it is part of the profession to win that struggle, to make the effort. She was unwilling to make that effort.


Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

What if there isn't a God? And if God does exist, would he/she say that you should turn your back on someone in need? Maybe God fearing folks should spend their time on helping others versus trying to justify discrimination and judgment based off their religion. I found it sad in a humorous way that her justification to turn away the student was because she believes people choose to be gay. How does she know this? Because her pastor said so? This is proof that anyone can get a college degree and not learn anything. She needs to go back to school to learn cultural diversity.


Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 9:06 a.m.

This is politics, not "faith". There are plenty of Christians who can counsel gay couples or individuals. If you insist blacks should only ride in the back of the bus, you shouldn't be a bus driver. Anyway, if counselors only counseled people who they felt were engaging in "moral" behavior they wouldn't have any customers! This woman would be well advised to hang out with some gays and lesbians, to see how the world goes round.


Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 5:24 a.m.

Julea Ward's actions are unchristian. These people that think they can discriminate against people in the name of God or Jesus are as far from the idea of christianity as one can get!


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 9:23 p.m.

Criminy, why is this debate going on for so long? The plaintiff is obviously devoid of compassion, so why in the world is she pursuing a career in social work? Compassion should be at the forefront of any endeavor of this sort and she lacks it in spades. Give it up, girl.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 9:12 p.m.

I wonder how Ms. Ward would feel if all the attorneys she contacted told her they couldn't represent homophobics.

Matt Cooper

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 7:55 p.m.

@Brandy Flemming: "I believe this does infringe on our constitutional rights! She was acting out of her religious beliefs. And since when can she not voice her opionion???" In the context of a counselor (or student counselor) and/or social worker helping a client, sworn to uphold certain codes of professional ethics and standards of care, that's where you are not allowed to voice your opinion. As a counselor she is there to help the client, not herself. She is there to help the client actualize his or her own goals and aspirations. She is there to help the client determine their own needs without fear of being judged. One of the major tenets of the helping professions is the belief that in dealing with the clients life, the clients issues, the clients personal issues, and/or the clients sexual orientation, Ward should have remembered a few simple points: 1. We are there to help the client 2. We are NOT there to judge 3. We must somtimes shelve our own personal mores in order to help the client If Ward has a problem in working with or counseling gays, or any one else for that matter, she ought to have had lengthy discussions with her academic advisors seeking their counsel prior to making an issue of it when she did. If she cannot do this, then she needs to consider another vocation.

David Briegel

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 7:53 p.m.

Carl, No. What we have is a tyranny of a Christian minority. I use minority because which pseudo-Christian sect shall we believe is a majority? They claim a war on Christianity and Christians. Imagine... What silliness. If any person were to be prevented from the practice of their religion in their home or their place of worship there would be hell to pay from all of us. Especially the ACLU!! Each sect believes that all of us must believe and have everlasting life of suffer the non-believers fate of an eternal damnation in a burning Hell! Now there's a positive belief system! That belief alone makes it very easy to demonize the "non believers"! That is how silly this whole debate has become. I am very proud to associate myself with the thoughtful post of Tater!! His post surprised me in a very positive way!

Mr. Tibbs

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

I have to wonder if she would have been fired for prosthelatizing, and or preaching the bible to the gays..... izzit any wonder why NORMAL folks are sick and tired of this garbage? OK so ya don't believe in god, well then ya must believe in nature then right? niether one permits same sex child it must be wrong somewhere....yet the book of simple rules is being banned everywhere.

Carl Duncan

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

What we've got here is tyranny from a minority. Homosexual behavior has been foisted upon us as being nothing unusual when in fact it is not normal behavior. Common sense lets it be known that if our ancestors were homosexuals we, you and me, more than likely would cease to exist. Why? By definition homesexual behavior is not conducive to reproduction of the human species unless one is inclined to employ turkey basters and test tubes much like modern farm operations today; the consequence of homosexual behavior and non natural reproduction would have put the human species at a distinct disadvantage. The majority of human beings on the planet under stand this. This is not rocket science! Needless to say, this EMU Huron supports Julea Ward.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

rjbranch...and what if a professor/ admin review board etc has a deeply held spiritual belief AGAINST homophobia? this could be a courtroom ploy too. this whole 1st amendment whack-a- mole stuff should absolutely be revisited in an age of jihadism ( it stinks...and i don't care what you believe!), creationism ( evolution happens. get over it!) and demonizing gays in god's name ( in an age of overpopulation and with all of us having gay relatives...if not friends...who are victims. if the founding fathers knew the b.s. that this amendment would act as a shield for they'd probably have nuanced it a bit better.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

If I'm correct, EMU is a public institution that presumably receives federal money. Isn't it true that any state agency receiving federal money must agree to be bound by ALL laws that govern the federal government? Assuming that's true, the federal government is bound by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and, therefore, so would EMU as a recipient of federal dollars. Under the RFRA, any restriction on the free exercise of religion must pass "strict scrutiny" and the agency must show a compelling governmental interest" for its restriction. What is the compelling governmental interest here in mandating that a student, to complete a course of instruction, must violate personal relgious conviction? She did the right thing. She requested that the gay counseling matter be referred to a student who didn't object. THAT'S WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IN THE REAL WORLD!!! I think it is reprehensible for EMU to impose it's suspect academic standards on individuals that violate personal constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. The case must be reversed and EMU must respect 1st amendment freedoms.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 10:09 a.m.

rob...back to academic freedom covering required things that are 'uncomfortable'... i really hate math and stink at it...yet, although it made me 'uncomfortable', i somehow soldiered through from grade school to grad school ( albeit with a reduced GPA from the damn math related stuff... although i never had the chutzpah to try ward's 'conscientious objector' route,i doubt it would have worked there either.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

Some of these post are not making sense. Ms. Ward did explain, that she did not have any problem treating people of all sexual orientations. Her claim was, that she felt with her christian values; she would not be effective in dealing with relationship issues. I wonder if Ms. Ward would have been an Israeli Jew, and the client was a Palestinian. Two people with opposing views on a deeply held belief. I do not think the university would have reacted the same. To me, that constitutes "Discrimination." Kudos to Ms. Ward! You could not have handled yourself better. You did the Christian thing. Eastern's staff are the ones being discriminatory (with our tax money).


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

Without reading the majority of comments here I must bring this up: If this this woman had these values and beliefs before she entered the training for this profession, she should not have entered it.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

This case won't get to the Supreme Court. It's a baseless complaint filed against an employer who has clearly defined standards that the plaintiff refused to accept. She's free to discriminate against gays on her own time, but when she's being paid to counsel ALL who she encounters, she has to put her biases on hold, or quit.

Rhe Buttle

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

I don't see what the kerfluffle is all about - the student was wrong, plain and simple. The student CHOSE to attend a state University. State Universities uphold a certain set of ethics. If the student wants to be a "Christian beliefs only" counselor, then she needs to attend a Christian school. Then she can put our her shingle as a religious fanatic and counsel all the fanatics that come to her.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

I believe this does infringe on our constitutional rights! She was acting out of her religious beliefs. And since when can she not voice her opionion??? Maybe she could have counseled this gay person.. but she would have also been instituting her beliefs into the counsel, would that have been right as well? The same with a musilum man counseling a woman, he would not do a good job either, he would somehow inquire that woman were inferior to men... SO in which way is this case constitutional???


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 6:44 a.m.

You know lawyers and judges recuse themeselves all the time from cases either for personal or professional reasons. So this is what she did. Now she is attacked becouse of her personal beliefs. Wheather or not you agree with what she did or not this has far reaching implications. If you dont do what we want you to we will punish you. Remeber EMU is a publically funded university not a private one. So if a lawyer has a personal belief that all criminals should be shot dead in the head he will have to defend them anyways. Ya I want that lawyer.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 2:28 a.m.

Julea Ward is wrong. You can not and should not refuse to see a client because of personal differences. Listening and giving advice does not require you to change your beliefs, it simply requires to you to change your perspective. Julea Ward is not willing to alter her perspective, yes the issue came up with homosexuality but where does it end? Will she also refuse to counsel an atheist or Islamic person? If your not willing to alter your perspective than you have no business in this field end of story period.

Matt Cooper

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 1:26 a.m.

trespass: "I think that the code of ethics applies after a patient/conselor relationship has been established. In this case, the student gave the patient a referral before such a relationship was established, so the patient was not harmed" The patient/counselor relationship is established the moment the patient/client showed up for their scheduled appointment with the expectation of getting help and then asking for such help. When Ms. Ward applied to and was accepted to the MSW program, she knew she would be encountering people of other colors, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations, among other differences. She also knew the code of conduct that EMU has in place in it's masters program and willingly accepted her seat in said program, thereby affirming her desire to adhere to that code of conduct. Sorry to say, but you can't change your mind half way through and think that you can expect the school to make an exception just for you, Ms. Ward. Secondly, she did indeed violate the codes of conduct mentioned in this article, but she also violated the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (, which states: Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients socially responsible selfdetermination. Social workers seek to enhance clients capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients interests and the broader societys interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession. Read carefully the part about "responsible self-determination", and the part about "opportunity to change and to address their own needs". What this means is that 1. The client is in charge of what they need, not the counselor. In refusing to work with what Judge Steeh referred to as "an entire class of people", Ward took this part of the Code and threw it in the garbage can. She injected her values into the client/therapist relationship, judged the client to be not worty of her services, and then attempted to hand off this client to another student/counselor. Finally, when you apply to any school, are accepted, and willingly start whatever program of study you are interested in, you don't get to decide the conditions upon which you will learn, or be taught. You don't get to decide which lessons or classes you should be instructed in. You don't get to decide these issues because you are the student. You are there to learn. And because you are the student and are there to learn, you accept that you must earn your degree through the accepted curriculum established by the school you applied to and were accepted to. If you don't like the rules, go somewhere else. Similarly, if you don't like gays such that you cannot participate in their "responsible self-deterimination" (emphasis on SELF), I would suggest that consideration of another profession might be in order.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 12:28 a.m.

I wonder how many other prejudices she has. Could she provide services to an atheist? What would happen is she started counselling someone and they said they were gay? Would she tell them that she would have to terminate professional services because she couldn't "treat" gays? Or even worse,continue to provide quasy treatment and collect her fees. How sad. She needs to get in to a non-people profession. I wouldn't even want her teaching my child with her strong Christian anti-gay beliefs. She should have known that this situation would come up when she went for a degree in counselling. I am a Christian and two of my best friends are gay men.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 10:32 p.m.

There are plenty of Christian schools of "higher eduction"(????) that this woman can choose to attend. There she will not have her bigoted thinking challenged. Unfortunately, she will not be taken seriously when she goes to get a job after graduating from one of those "diploma mills". LOL She is such a hypocrite** on so many levels. She would have been smarter to keep her mouth shut and graduate with a degree, then she could go about "conseling" gays, lesbians, and bisexuals "back to health". What an idiot. ** a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 10:04 p.m.

what if Ward was gay and could not counsel a client because the client was a devout christian? Does anyone really think she would have been fired? As stated by others - what bothers me is she followed the process of the department and deferred to another counselor - and then she was fired for following that process??? Conflicts exist in all fields that adhere to codes of conduct - that is why there are processes to deal with them! Conflicts of interest enter law, medicine, business - and there are usually SOPs for these conflicts! She followed them and was fired... and by the way = great job EMU with the rude comments towards her... cant this school ever act professional and make professional decisions?


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:25 p.m.

@NoDoubleStandards If Ms. Ward is going to insist upon her "values," she is not going to escape the proselytizer/evangelist label.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:11 p.m.

nodoublestandards: Did Ms Ward contact her attorneys before she enrolled at Eastern?


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:53 p.m.

I agree someone should be allowed to refer at their professional discretion without being villainized, however, she is not a professional counselor YET. She is in training to become a professional at a publicly funded school. I agree with Speechless about the slippery slope of "it's against my religion" and the doors it might open.

Inside MI GOP

Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

The Alliance Defense Fund is picking up her legal costs. Here are other current actions of the ADF: Look for a ratcheting up of this sort of litigation regarding the abortion conscience rule and anticipate that the Obama Administration will go around congress and tie licensing of insurers, providers and doctors and nurses themselves to those parties agreeing to perform abortion services, using the same discrimination arguments of EMU. The conflict over abortion is going to get worse. It is one of the flash points that may result in another civil war and a complete restructuring of American Society. The numbers are in favor of Pro-Life, because Pro Life women have far more babies than abortion rights supporters, and Children of Pro Life parents almost always remain in the Pro-Life camp....and continue the pattern of having more children per couple.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

Reposting in concise form: -Ms. Ward's advisor was aware of her values before practicum, so why was this client assigned to her? -The article infers that Ms. W decided just 2 hrs before the appt that she had a values conflict, but doesn't share that Ms. W likely had only just been assigned her client. -Ms. W went to her advisor in good conscience. Her advisor acted the confidante, then used what Ms.W said against her later. THAT was unethical. -Ms. W has no problem working with people of LGBTQ orientation! This client was seeking counseling specific to his/her lifestyle, which Ms. W could not uphold. -Aataxpayer raised a good point the client likely wouldnt even WANT to have a counselor with conflicting values. Counselors should reveal to clients a potential values conflict so that the client can be INFORMED and empowered to make decisions. -Murrow - standards are not black-and-white, they are interpreted. Ms. Ward was in good faith trying to adhere to the standards of our profession. -Ypsicat & Briegel - Ms. W was not a proselytizer/evangelist. I had 3 classes with her and never knew she was a Christian. -Magnumpi - Ms. Ward is a public HS teacher and is one of the most professional, hardworking people I know. Any student who has her is lucky. -Trespass I agree. Note that practicum is not the same as actual school-counseling where sustained counseling in which deep-seated values conflicts might play a role is not even condoned. -Katmando - Ms. W did not WANT to impose her beliefs and sought to avoid that entirely! -Bedrog The EMU counseling faculty, intolerant of more conservative viewpoints, "started" this. There is no right-wing agenda. -I actually disagree with Ms. Wards beliefs. I am heterosexual and would counsel homosexual clients without conflict. However, I believe that no counselor should have to CHANGE or hide beliefs and should be allowed to refer at their professional discretion without being villanized. Ms. Wards behavior was ethical; that of the EMU counseling faculty was not. The counseling profession is heading in a dangerous direction if we are going to sanction people who seek to refer on the basis of values conflicts. I foresee counselors having to hide their values in order to be accepted in the profession. Scary!


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

"She said she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay is a choice...". 1.) "Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged," Julea. Some would say that entering a "helping career" and then deciding who to "help" is immoral. 2.) No one "chooses" to be gay... it's like being born with blue eyes or poor eyesight.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:25 p.m.

(Note to avoid confusion: I'm "katie" with a small k. A different poster than "Katie" with a capital K who posted above.) While it is true that many counselors would refer a client that they could not help, this is not about that. Homosexuality is not a choice and there is plenty of research to back that up, including differences in the brain. Homosexuality is an identity that a person is born with. That is why there are ACA guidelines covering this type of discrimination. It sounds as though Julea needs to become aware of the research in this area. One's identity may be tied to race or gender as well. It is clear to see that it is not a religious right to discriminate against a person based on either of these aspects of their identity. Sexual preference is no different. EMU is right in their stance. A university education needs to be grounded in science when the field of study includes research. A university education is not faith-based and should not be. A student of any religious background should be able to get a university education as long as they are willing to learn the discipline that they are studying. If they have a belief that runs counter to any given discipline, it is not a good idea to get a degree in that discipline. Julea Ward was not willing to learn the discipline that she was studying. In that she has a choice. She can leave the discipline. She does not have to get a degree or a license as a counselor. However, it is not her right to have the curriculum (nor the profession) altered to her specific religion.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

As of 1974, over 35 years ago, the DSM-II ceased to categorize homosexuality as a mental disorder, thereby rendering it a non-issue. If this person is unable to move past that, she has no business pursuing a career in counseling in the larger world outside of her very small minded one. End of story. She could possibly be welcomed by her non-secular brethren, and that is what she needs to pursue instead of taxing the system and the resources of E.M.U.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:02 p.m.

"It's... tiring to listen to people use their faith as an excuse to promote discrimination." One variation on this perspective is to see Ward's lawsuit as an attempt to establish the use of religion as a means for granting partial exemption from professional and civil requirements intended to promote basic respect. If Ward prevails in high court, religion will become a kind of get-out-of-jail-free ticket that allows someone to avoid always having to comply with standards for fair and equal treatment. In restricted, legally structured ways, discrimination would be reintroduced as socially acceptable behavior which gains sanction and justification under the guise of religious protection. The article suggests this suit's potential for a serious setback in our civil rights and protections. Should Ward's legal team somehow fully succeed, one could well imagine the future motivation for neo-nazi groups to create their own branch of Christianity. They would present racist and anti-semitic notions within a pseudo-spiritual framework in order to achieve a limited legal basis for refusing service and fair treatment to Jews and minorities.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

bedrog, I don't believe anyone was "spouting" anything. Ms. Ward just politely refused to work with this particular client. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has "something" they are not willing to do. That, the ability to refuse to do something that you are simply uncomfortable doing, is also academic freedom and should have been Ms. Ward's right without being expelled from the program. It is highly likely that she could have used her degree and experience to help countless people without ever having to counsel a homosexual person. That potential would have spoken volumes about her academic experience at EMU and would have been a credit to the program. Now, unfortunately, unless you "fit" into the square peg that has been established you are not welcome to be a part of the program. Tolerance is fine as long as it is real tolerance. By dismissing Ms. Ward, EMU is just as intolerant as they accuse her of being. Is tolerance a one-way street?


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

If it were part of my religious belief that black people should not be allowed to work, and are inferior mentally does that mean I can use religion to espouse that view in my JOB. She has no leg to stand on. She can believe whatever the hell she wants, but that does not mean she can counsel anything that she wants.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 4:54 p.m.

Kudos to Juliana Keeping for what seems increasingly rare in: truly professional journalism. This is a great piece of balanced reporting. Keeping uses actual hard sources to show Julea Ward as a person sincerely trying to reconcile conflicting demands and do the right thing. Ward was willing to do anything except to counsel gay clients about gay relationships. She did what few therapists in the real world actually do--admit they were not the right counselor and refer. More folks take the money and provide services they know others can do better. The odds are that 20 other students could have exactly the same views and graduate from EMU's program but simply never encounter the situation that reveals them. I certainly think she has been duped by cynical self-serving religious leaders who talk Jesus and walk Satan. Still it seems she actually did the ethical thing and got lynched for it. Not that it is wrong to filter out bigots, just that this is such a random way to do it. Punishing students for following the part of ethics that puts the client first (make the referral) seems destructive. Poor Ward had not learned to be a real fake.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 4:49 p.m.

@Nodoublestandards- Thank you, your post is very informative and thoughtful.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 4:35 p.m.

In this case Ms Ward's potential client made her aware of his/her sexuality before the first meeting. What if Ms. Ward were to work with a teenager who later disclosed to her that he/she was struggling with theirs? How would she react then and what impact would her reaction have on that client? I find no difference between Ms Ward and a racist student refusing to counsel an African American client. The fields of counseling, social work, etc have no room for bigotry, period.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 2:23 p.m.

If it were a Muslim counselor and (he) decided he could not counsel women, I am sure the school would also terminate him. I cannot believe that people in this day and age care who wants to love whomever...this fairy tale bible stuff is POISONING people who are supposed to forgive all and love one another despite our differences. If you believe that god made everything, then surely gay people "were made" intentionally, why try to rewrite all this?? What a joke... People are so gullable.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

rob..academic freedom isnt blanket freedom to spout any old thing and be rewarded for it in an academic setting ( although one has such spouting...if not reward..rights as a citizen under the 1st amendment... in an academic setting spouting has to be informed and backed up by credible, peer reviewed data and standards and be within the parameters set up by the discipline/university/dept/professor... otherwise anyone could go out, put their hand on a rock and declare 'i am a ph.d' ( which actually is sometimes done...e.g. in a recent scandal in the pakistani parliament, and i daresay among some televangelist 'doctors of divinity') and on the matter of reward/punishment the student and her closet super-conservative backers ( who are no doubt there!) seem to want it both be seen as martyrs ( or at least 'martyrs lite')and yet to be exempt from the penalties that martyrs face by definition.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

"Should public tax dollars be used to educate someone who does not agree with fundamental precepts on the constitution and our laws?... It about the constitution and the law." As long as the constitution is on the table it does directly mention religion in the 1st amendment stating in part..."Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". I highlight part two "the free exercise thereof" The Constitution does not however directly address sexual orientation. Having said that and being a Christian I do believe homosexuals should have all the secular rights that heterosexuals have with regard to a legal union that includes what I'll dub "spousal rights". But when it comes to who is jamming who's beliefs down who's throat I see one person saying "I'd rather not go down this road, please don't make me". I see the other side saying "You must go down this road and if you don't your no longer welcome". Thats what I see.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 1:59 p.m.

Monday's ruling in the Julea Ward case was a major victory for Eastern, and for universities across the country, as the administration and our legal team pursued an aggressive legal approach to protect academic freedom and the academic integrity of our programs and faculty, wrote Walter Kraft, vice president for communications, in an e-mail to faculty and staff." I love the term "academic freedom". Apparently, at EMU, academic freedom is a one-way street. I guess students don't have a right to academic freedom. What if the student seeking Ms. Ward's counsel were a child know, into having sex with little kids...would she have been dismissed for not affirming that patient's perspective or "lifestyle"? Or, how about the patient who's into having sex with animals? It's pretty sad when the thought police, regardless of what Dr. Ametrano has indicated, mandates thought reform in order to pursue a certain profession. Very sad day for EMU.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

Seems like there are a couple of separate issues: Should public tax dollars be used to educate someone who does not agree with fundamental precepts on the constitution and our laws? Does the counseling profession have ethics that would prohibit the behavior in this case? None of these things have to do with left, right or middle. It about the constitution and the law. Personally I do not want my tax dollars supporting any PUBLIC educational institution that endorses/certifies individuals who openly declare that their religious trump the professional ethics or the constitution. Good for EMU to stand their ground.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

She didnt tell the person or preach to them that its wrong to be gay which would have been unethically incorrect and if I understand the article she did not tell the person that she wouldnt councel them because she was against homosexuality.She only told her superiors that.She respected the persons right to be gay which is more than you people are giving her.Everyone here is saying their beliefs are right and she should adhere to them.I hate it when people push religion on to me but it is their right to believe it themselves.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 1:03 p.m.

This is an daily occurance in the counseling profession. Counselors opt to refer a client because they feel un-qualified for one reason or another to meet the clients needs. No harm to the client and actually in the clients best interest. State supported schools are in business to teach not judge! Student 1 EMU 0. Supreme Court final decision, if they decide to accept the case, will be in favor of the student.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 12:38 p.m. i said elsewhere on this thread ( or maybe a related one...i forget) im not an atheist at all...such a definitive position on the unknowable ( which all divinity related matters are) is as offensive to me as religious fundamentalism ( ditto some 'secular political fundamentalisms'... im actually somewhat religious myself, but not a nut about it and like the clergyman who heads 'americans united for the separation of church and state' believe that anything purporting to be science ( or even social science) should check faith matters at the door as much as possible... which is never totally possible. but this gal didnt even try.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 11:37 a.m.

@bedrog- Your brand of atheism also demonizes religious persons. I prefer the wisdom of the constitution that allows us all freedom of expression, even if I disagree strongly with some religious views (including this students view of homosexuality). Many people who seek conseling are motivated by their own religious beliefs and I see nothing wrong with a conselor having religious views as long as they fully disclose those views to potential clients and they recognize the difference between conseling goals and religious ones. It gets more complicated in a public school setting where students may not have complete freedom of choice, so this student should realize that her religious views may limit her employment opportunities.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

Julea Ward, I am very proud of you and how you not only stood strong in what you believe but did so professionally by referring the student to another counselor. That way, you could uphold your beliefs and the student could get the proper counseling. A win-win situation. I'm sure God is smiling down upon you from Heaven.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

i think the referral argument would be valid if she was already a practicing counselor. since she is in-training, i'm not sure it can/should apply.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 11:01 a.m. the bouncing of your hypothetical muslim certainly hope so if they tried to insert some sort of fundamentalist islamic aspect into the counselling environment. there are centers where sectarian,religiously based therapies are taught...and a public univ, funded with tax monies,ain't one of them.. and 'trespass'...yes i do indeed believe in the superiority of my values, where secular, non denominational ones in a medical or quasi-medical setting trump religiously based ones,( esp where the religion irrationally demonizes gays). EMU seems to agree...and it'll be intersting to see if the supreme court does too, given it's rightward tilt...but i hope so, and am sure countersuits will materialize if not.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 10:47 a.m.

I wonder if EMU would have been so arrogant with a Muslim student?


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 10:11 a.m.

"In that hearing, EMU officials from the counseling department said they wanted Ward to adhere to a remediation program that would require her to affirm and validate homosexual behavior according to the profession's and schools governing ethics codes, but Ward refused, instead requesting a formal hearing." The action the school took seems totally inappropriate. The student asked that the client be referred to someone else, and they were. That should have been the end of it. With many issues there will be conflicting opinions/beliefs between client and counselor. The school is completely out of line in demanding that counselors "affirm and validate" any belief/behavior just because it is in accordance with the schools ethics code-don't people's own ethical codes trump that of the schools? It seems that there is a referral process in place for just this type of situation. And it seems that the student used it appropriately.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

I'll second Katie's excellent comment: "It's really getting tiring to listen to people use their faith as an excuse to promote discrimination."


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

E.M.U. is a bery powerful school. Ask any Huron!


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:59 a.m.

@Katie- we are mixing up discrimination and professional ethics. The school has a right to uphold professional ethics but it does not have a right to impose its values on the students legal behavior. Discrimination may be illegal in public accomodations but in private relationships, even professional ones, one must show some harm. I disagree with the students belief but I still advocate her right to hold that belief as long as she does no harm to others. The schools focus should be on whether or not she understands how to avoid harm.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Sounds like someone demanding equal treatment under the law for the right to refuse services to those of her choosing, i.e. for the right to treat others unequally. Freedom for all, sweets, not freedom for some. Quit looking for a cross to nail yourself to and consider pulling a few nails out from those who might actually want some help.

james Kurtz

Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:42 a.m.

Ms Ward has the right to not counsel a gay person based on her beliefs that homosexuality is immoral which it is. She did the right thing by referring the individual to another counselor. What she didn't realize is that she was being set up by the gay rights community. I hope she wins her case as I believe her views are correct.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.

@Julea, I fully agree with your stand, and despite the one sided posts here, do realize that many of us support you. How can we donate to your cause?


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

As an addendum to my earlier post and in response to others who spoke of "evangelize" and "proselytize", I saw no indication in the story that this student chastised or otherwise attempted to convert this client. Indeed, I do not recall that she even MET with the client but if she did, it most likely went no further than the initial meeting. I agree that some counselors and clients are not a good "fit" and for the counselor to begin or continue counselling the client knowing the counselor would not be helpful would absolutely be a breach of her moral and professional obligation.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

It's really getting tiring to listen to people use their faith as an excuse to promote discrimination.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

@bedrog- Are you not imposing your values on her (i.e.and in this case irrationally so)? I am not religious but I don't accuse someone who is of being irrational. If referring a patient to another conselor before you have even established a patient/conselor relationship causes harm, I cannot see it. The patient probably didn't even know the reason and may not even have known which student counselor they would meet. I cannot imagine that there is a gay person out there that doesn't know that some people object to their sexual orientation based upon religious belief. I believe strongly in a "do no harm" ethic in medical professions but let's talk reasonably about actual harm.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

I think this student is to be commended for making her high standards known. The procedure for the referral of clients is exactly the safety valve that is necessary to ensure clients receive valid counselling that is beneficial to the client. If students are forced to counsel in a way that is untrue for them, the entire counselling profession will become a sham. If I couldn't be counselled in good faith, i.e. my counselor actually believing the words he or she was saying, then the entire counselling procedure would be invalidated. I want a counselor that actually believes in what he or she is saying. This student chose the high road by not participating in negative counselling nor falsely and insincerely telling the client what he or she wants to hear but instead referring the client to a counselor who could actually be helpful to the client. The entire counselling profession will be reduced to a profession populated of sycophants, "Yes" men and women, who focus on telling the "boss" (client) only what they want to hear, and not the truth as the counselor knows it, if EMU's action is allowed to stand. If I knew my counselor was telling me only what I wanted to hear I'm sure I would run, not walk, out of that counselor's office and try to find a counsellor who would speak the truth as he/she knows it. I would then have the option of continuing with that counselor or seeking one that I felt would be more helpful to my situation. @outdoor6709: I agree with your position, but with the composition of the Supreme Court being shifted to the left as it is, I am not so sure this student will receive an opinion that will affirm that counselors should counsel clients in a way that the counselors believe in. I'm sorry to say that it's sad, but probably true.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

one can refer patients to other counselors...or doctors...with greater expertise, and it's helpful. when such referrals are done simply because you don't like the client's values ( and in this case irrationally so) it's harmful... and, assuming there's a 'do no harm' ethic in this field ( as in hard medicine), it's therefore simply bad practice... good for EMU.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:52 a.m.

@FoxviewFarm- The ethics of the profession do not depend on what University gave you your degree. If that were the case, then she should win because it is a matter of free speech. If it is a matter of ethics then it should not matter where she gets her degree from.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:52 a.m.

What Ghost and Dave B said. If she wants to proselytize, she should be a reverend. Then there would be no need to adhere to the ACA ethical code. Or go to a graduate program at a religious college where they don't use that code. Then, thankfully, she probably wouldn't qualify for most counseling jobs in the public sector but be limited to likewise narrow-minded Christian employers.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

"...when this gets to the Supreme Court..." I think the its more appropriate to say "if" rather than "when" as the Supreme Court picks the cases they opt to hear. No guarantees. from the article: There are numerous instances where your values could come into conflict with a clients goals, Tedesco said. The professional practice is to offer referral. Who doesnt bring their values to work in some way? If we remove the religious aspect for a moment and ask whether there are any circumstances under which a counselor might feel the "fit" for a client isn't right and a referral is appropriate, whats the answer? Suppose a man comes to a counselor because he is in an adulterous relationship with a married woman and its weighing on him. Suppose the counselor makes an appointment for Tuesday to see the man but over the weekend he comes to realize the "other woman" is the wife of his best pal. The guy he golfs with every Wednesday, and shares season tickets with. Would it be professionally inappropriate to refer him to another counselor?


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:58 a.m.

Ed, There was a process to refer clients to other conselours. She followed the process and was kicked out of the program. Seems closed minded on the administration's part. Your assumption seems to be we all need to believe what the left believes in. Colleges used to be places of open thought and debate, now as this ruling proves, colleges are places of forced thought. She will win when this gets to the Supeme Court and America will be better for it.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

I think the school is misinterpreting the ACA code of ethics (i.e.Counselors avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals and that counselors do not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, culture sexual orientation.). I think that the code of ethics applies after a patient/conselor relationship has been established. In this case, the student gave the patient a referral before such a relationship was established, so the patient was not harmed. My opinion about whether or not the school acted appropriately would depend on whether or not the hearing focused on whether or not the student could act in the best interest of the patient if she found out the patient was gay after a treatment relationship was established and whether she would adequately warn potential patients before they saw her for treatment. Simalarly, questions about abortion might be appropriate if they focused on how she would avoid imposing her beliefs on a patient. Something similar occurred in the medical profession during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, where some professionals refused to treat patients with AIDS. It was not based on moral beliefs but it was based on fear of the disease but the bottom line is that if you chose to go into a medical profession you must accept some personal risks for the benefit of the patient. Many doctors died from tuberculosis before that became a curable disease. If the school, flat out says that a belief that being gay is immoral is incompatible with counseling, then I think they are wrong. If they say that the student did not have proper insight into her obligation to put her patient's interests before her own, then they are probably right. If the student wants to be in a medical profession she must be able to put the patients interests above her own (an ideal that is not always met in all medical professions) but in this case the patient was was not harmed and other patients would not necessarily be harmed as long as she has insight into her obligations and can act appropriately.

David Briegel

Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

Ms Ward, you are wrong. That is why you have lost. Get on with your life. If you wish to evangelize, change careers! Good posts here.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 7:38 a.m.

so she worked as a public school teacher also? i hope it wasn't at the high school level.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 6:37 a.m.

She chose the profession and knew that she would be seeing clients that might not fit into her "profile" of what constitutes "moral" behavior. Good for EMU for upholding and carrying thru with their policies. Too many students claim foul when things don't go their way. The university is educating people to become professionals that are going to be capable and understand their role as a provider. Hard to be her, and she has a right to her views and beliefs. Isn't there a Christian university that offers that degree? She might get better reception for her views at a private university rather than a public one.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 6:33 a.m.

Something these religous right conservatives don't get. Is that they can have their own beliefs but you leave it at the front door when they are working with people of other beliefs. You have the right to your own beliefs and I have the right to mine.Does she ask the waiter what his/her beliefs is before being served, does she ask the counter person hers/his belief is before making a purchase? Does she refuse service if the person isn't of the same belief? Peple like this are hypercites.


Sun, Aug 1, 2010 : 6:18 a.m.

so much for "the poor young woman just acting out of conscience" ( per a related thread)... this thing was a political stalking horse, no doubt funded by deep ultra right wing pockets, with an aggressive social agenda, from the get go....