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Posted on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

EMU resolves case of Julea Ward, former student kicked out of program for declining to counsel gay client

By Katrease Stafford


EMU has resolved its case against Julea Ward.

File photo

The case of a former Eastern Michigan University student kicked out of a counseling program after declining to counsel a gay client has reached a settlement, according to university officials.

The former graduate student Julea Ward will be given a $75,000 settlement from the university.

Ward was kicked out of the university's counseling program after she refused to affirm a gay client’s relationship during a practicum. Ward said she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay is a choice and she could not in good conscience counsel the client.

EMU vice president for communications Walter Kraft said in a statement EMU decided to resolve the litigation rather than continue to spend money on a costly trial.

"The university’s insurance company, M.U.S.I.C., Michigan Universities Self-Insurance Corporation, will pay the cost of the settlement," Kraft said.

The end of the case marks a nearly four-year battle between Ward and the university. Ward was a student in the university's graduate school counseling program, where she was training to become a counselor in the K-12 school system.

Ward's legal counsel, Jeremy Tedesco, said he is pleased and feels that Ward's constitutionally protected rights have been "vindicated."

"Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The Sixth Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case," Tedesco said.

The Alliance Defense Fund filed suit against EMU in April of 2009. The lawsuit sought to stop the university from enforcing its policies that prohibit discrimination and require students in its counseling program to counsel students in conformance with the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association.

Kraft said the resolution of the lawsuit will leave the university's policies, programs and curricular requirements intact.

"The faculty retains its right to establish, in its learned judgment, the curriculum and program requirements for the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University," Kraft said.

The university declined to further comment on the matter.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Cathy Doran-McMillion

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Julea Ward should seek a degree at a religious institution that supports her point of view. Too bad that EMU had to pay her off.

Mary Fraser

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Ugggghh. Yes, people should not be discriminated against...for their sexual orientation OR their religion; HOWEVER, I'm preeeetty sure the scope of practice/code of ethics was likely covered in one of her introductory classes. While I'm not a fan of the $$$ settlement, I understand EMU's fears of wanting to settle the case...instead of the possibility of forcing to change their policy. (Oh, you know. The one where counselors should be objective and not discriminate against their clients).

David Spence

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 3:07 a.m.

This story is appallingly biased both in its tone and in the facts that chose to include. How about reporting what the 6th Circuit Court actually said? The following is extracted from the account found on the Alliance Defending Freedom (not Alliance Defense Fund, as reported) web site: In a strongly worded opinion in Ward v. Wilbanks, the 6th Circuit reversed the district court decision in favor of the university and sent the case back for trial, saying, "a reasonable jury could conclude that Ward's professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith…." Moreover, the decision notes, "A university cannot compel a student to alter or violate her belief systems based on a phantom policy as the price for obtaining a degree."

Jason Schwartz

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Your quotation is extremely misleading. The beginning of the sentence you cite is, "WHEN THE FACTS ARE CONSTRUED IN WARD'S FAVOR, as they must be at this stage of the case, a reasonable jury could conclude that Ward's professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith, not due to a policy against referrals."

Jason Schwartz

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

The counseling program is a professional program. How can it be expected to graduate a student who refuses to practice within the code of ethics for the profession? Part of joining a profession is practicing within the profession's standards. It would be like an accounting student who refuses to practice within professional accounting standards for their school work or internship. Do her supporters think universities should be required to graduate a student like this too? If she wanted to provide counseling services within a religious framework and be uninhibited by the profession's standards, she should have sought training from a pastoral counseling program.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

Not surprised by the -2. It took us a while to find a counselor for my step-daughter. The first counselor's reaction stunned us: when her mother related the story of the airplane to him, he shook his head and said "your poor daughter... are you going to sue the airline?" Both our mouths dropped open to our chests. We finally found a counselor with common sense, but with the victim mentality of Ann Arbor it was no easy task.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

I am so glad Julea didnt back down from this. I wish she had received a few million dollars instead. Christians must continue to stand up for what the Bible says and not what the "world" says regardless of the persecution.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Our step-daughter claimed to be gay, when in fact, she was acting-out in a desperate cry for help. Her antics included holding gay porn up in front of her face on an airplane, and causing a scene when the flight attendant asked her to please place the magazine in her lap if she wished to read it, as many passengers had complained. She initially refused to see the fact that she herself was being abusive, and others have the right NOT to be exposed to pornography. Without the ability to ascertain whether the behavior is legitimate by rubber stamping, counselors and their patients are disservice by EMU's policies.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Wish I coulda got $75,000 for flunking out.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

"M.U.S.I.C." to my Ears: The story is simple. EMU could not defend its practices in a Court of Law and paid a penalty for violating the rights of a student. The issue is not about the sexual orientation of a particular individual. The issue is about the nature of human relationships. There is a fundamental mother-child relationship that determines human existence. If this relationship is a blessed event, all other human relationships come into existence on the basis of this spiritual relationship between mother and child.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

So now she can go into our K-12 schools and preach her religious ethics to our children. If your religion plays such a big roll why are you attending a public school/ University? Why didn't you choose an accredited religious school/ University? Common sense. You know the law. Separate church and state. Public = state = no church no religion. She got payed to shut up about it, and EMU payed her to go away. Shame on you EMU.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Could I be hired as a substance abuse counselor, but then refuse to counsel people who use drugs or alcohol because I believe it is "immoral" and a "choice"?

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Correct me if I'm wrong but if she had completed her degree and gone to work as a counselor she would have made more than $75,000 in 4 years. In my opinion, she lost time, money and did not change anything about EMU's policy. Good riddance Julea.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

In my opinion this woman needs to get into a different field, she is going to not like a lot of things and if she can't set her opinions aside to help someone, she will be worthless to people that need help. EMU should not have settled and to give her that much money is just plain wrong.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Isn't it part of the Christian faith to be loving and accepting to all?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

indeed it is.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Apparently not....


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

This is a total nuisance value settlement. Nothing changed and she's lucky to see 40 grand after expenses and her attorney's fees. Finishing the case (trial, appeals) would have cost the U at least that much. What a joke.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

She didn't deserve a dime and the university did the right thing by kicking her out of the program. She violated the ACA (American Counseling Association) code of conduct by refusing to counsel a gay person, so why is she entitled to anything? If you can't handle the dictates of the profession, then choose another profession. She received special treatment because of her religious beliefs and that is not justice.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

While it is laudable that individuals like Ms. Ward can be seen to have such strong convictions, let us not forget that we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. Religion has no place among the sciences, a non-overlapping magisteria if you prefer to view it that way. To those critical of Eastern Michigan for not making a stronger case, you are correct in that it is a shame that they were not willing, or perhaps capable, of standing their ground. It is in these troubled times that we we can always look to 'big brother' down the road to... observe quietly, offering little more than a peep as bills such as 5040 pass. Perhaps spinelessness is a part of a greater Michigan difference, it certainly seems to be something we have in common.

Chris Sallek

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:58 a.m.

If the situation occurs in her job, is she going to refuse to do her job or will she counsel based on her own personal beliefs instead of acknowledged professional standards thus jeopardizing her employer and her continued employment? I hope she never finds employment in her field if she chooses to instill her own values and beliefs into those that she is charged with helping.

Mike Klobuchar

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:40 a.m.

she will NEVER be a couselor except at her local church where no accreditation will be needed and she will not be able to charge a dime and if she does she will go to jail for practice with out a license.

Steven Murphy

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Wikipedia: "Since the 1970s, the consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions globally is that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexual orientation, while there remain those who maintain that it is a disorder.[2] In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975.[3] Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990. Consequently, while some still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder, the current research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, reflecting the official positions of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association." --------------- It sometimes strikes me that things are about a numbers game.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:14 a.m.

One thing that wasn't exactly spelled out but is important to note: if EMU's counseling programs are to remain accredited they must adhere to the standards of the accrediting agencies for those professional areas. EMU's graduates in the counseling program can't get a license to practice if they don't graduate from a properly accredited program. And a properly accredited program has to show its adherence to the code of ethics. The American Counseling Association (and other pertinent associations & agencies) has a code of ethics that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as other client characteristics, and EMU's program upholds these ethics.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

I refuse to perform emergency surgery on this patient. His/her lifestyle is against my religious beliefs


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

First of all, there are worlds of differences between your example and this case. Perhaps the greatest is that performing surgery would likely not force you to reaffirm their lifestyle - something that Ms. Ward would have to do IF she were to counsel homosexuals. She simply asked to refer the client to someone else. This is something that the American Counseling Association's ethical rules permit - as noted by the 6th Circuit Court - and those rules are what the university most strongly claimed to practice. The university likely discriminated against Ms. Ward's beliefs by their arbitrary application of these rules.... This really wasn't a difficult case.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Sweet. Anyone I don't like is now against my religion. I will now discriminate freely and without fear. Black people, Arabs, Whites, Asians, basically anyone who is not exactly like me. Religious discrimination is awesome.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Religious rights trumps everyone else right to freedom and beliefs. They can hate who they want and deny medical treatments to those that they don't like. They abuse you and treat you lower than dirt all in the name of god.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

Step 1: get a counseling job at eastern. Step 2: refuse to talk to anyone that's religious. Step 3: get fired from EMU for violating code of ethics. Step 4: cite HB4050 paragraph 3, claiming "moral conviction" against anyone other than an atheist. Step 5: ??? Step 6: profit


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Chump change. What the university was willing to pay to rid itself of a nuisance lawsuit. Good to see the relatively cheap price Ms. Ward puts on her so-called principles.

Mike Klobuchar

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:37 a.m.

she would have taken less but the lawyers gotta get paid


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Bigotry and counsling are a bad and unworkable mix. And homophobia, based on religious beliefs or not, is a form of bigotry. Find another profession Julea or go to work for Michelle Bachman`s husband in Wisc... you`ll be right at home there.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

Julea Ward has a right to her beliefs, just like the liberals who profess that everyone should believe in the LGBT philosophy. Gee, can other people not like what you like?? This is typical bullying from a minority of people that want to push their beliefs on society. Surprise, there are still people out here that do not believe in LGBT or gay marriage or whatever agenda is the current mission. This is the same argument that Obama and his henchmen are trying to push on the health care professionals that do not believe in birth control or abortion. Enough .


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Of course she has the right to her ugly beliefs, no one disputes that. However, she never had a right to be passed through a professional academic counseling program after she refused to comply with its minimum standards and requirements. End of story. Her religious bigotry, or convictions as you may say, are irrelevant to the requirement to meet the standards of the program in which she chose to enroll. Sadly, while Ms Ward may see herself as standing up for her religious beliefs (after all, we all remember when Jesus told the sick and needy to get lost), she was actually just used as a puppet for a bunch of conservative religious white men. 50 years ago her legal team would have been fighting to allow white counselors to refuse service to blacks. All in the name of their deeply held religious convictions.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

I'm going to push gay marriage on you. Look out. One day you'll wake and I'll have the paperwork all filed. Then what ya gonna do!

Mike Klobuchar

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:37 a.m.

she has a right to her beliefs but she has no right to shove them down other people's throats or expect to be exceptioned from professional standards. She should just be a good wife, mother and church goer which I believe is all women are allowed to do in the christian methinks she is some sort of provacateur acting on behalf of others.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

Liberals are SO tolerant.... of people who believe exactly like them, that is.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Another sad day for EMU. Basically admitting that it is a third-rate university that produces worthless paper. They could have stood for something, for once, by standing up to this bully. Too bad.

David Spence

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Except the 6th Circuit Court overturned the district court decision...


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

EMU did stand up to the bully and successfully upheld the counseling program's policies and principles. Unfortunately, it cost some money because she had an entire conservative legal institute behind her. They could have dragged out their losing cause even longer, which would have cost the university more money. I also hate to see her get the 75K but what matters most in this case is upholding the principles and policies.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

It is sad day to be an EMU student with a psychology major. For all of you saying she did right by sticking to her beliefs you obviously do not understand how this affects the field of psychology. The code of ethics are in place for a reason and if schools do not abide by them they can lose accreditation and all those with degrees in that field from that school would mean nothing. Imagine going to college for at least 4 years and finding out because of one student who instead of changing her field of study wanted to be prejudiced toward others your degree means absolutely nothing. And for the religious, so many are prejudiced against homosexuals but Jesus who only spoke of love was never prejudiced toward them, and if you are African American I want you to remember that there once was a time when the Bible was used to justify us slaves and 3/5 of a person.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

@Self-Loathing Commentor: Unfortunately you have your facts reversed. The lawsuit was to filed because EMU punished Ms Ward for FOLLOWING the ACA code of ethics. As I stated in my post above, such referrals are allowed under ACA ethics. The lawsuit was not brought to try to change the ACA code of ethics. The lawsuit was brought to get EMU abide by them.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

@TyRonda: Ms Ward DID follow the ACA code of ethics. The code specifically allows for the client referrals that she requested. Such referrals normal in professional counseling. The opinion the 6th Circuit wrote in their decision points out this fact.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Typically systems of fairness such as the code of ethics seemed to severely limit religious convictions or throw it out when it is a vital part of many people's lives. Send Christians who want to counsel in K-12 public schools out of public sector is flat out wrong. If you are a Christian that holds to Biblical Standards, not the abuse and missuse of scripture such as what racist did with the Bible, you deserve to be in some hole somewhere or in some closet somewhere. Interesting!! This is not about counseling gay students, it is about affirming and counseling sensitive gay relationship issues which she would have to refer to somebody else. Systems of higher learning in this country came out of Christian convictions, now if you have Christian convictions that match with Biblical teachings you should be silent and kicked out. I would have done the same thing. I would have said I in good conscience could not counsel you in matters concerning a gay relationship, you may want to share that with another counselor is there some other concern that is on your heart. EMU's policy or code of ethics may be intact, but the school loses concerning there lack of sensitivity to religious beliefs. Only those with little, no religious background or willing to compromise their Christian, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, or other religious beliefs are wanted here.

Self-loathing Commentor

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

It's not a misprint, but it's ambiguously worded. The lawsuit wanted to prevent enforcement of the university's policies require that students to follow the ACA code of ethics.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

I asked that which code of ethics emu adhered to earlier but haven't been able to get an answer. "...The lawsuit sought to stop the university from enforcing its policies that prohibit discrimination and require students in its counseling program to counsel students in conformance with the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association..." Or is this a misprint?


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

So as a teacher/counselor, if I refuse to affirm an opposite-gendered relationship, can I get $75,000? Seriously, I just came from watching Lincoln (excellent movie, btw) and Rep. Stevens made an excellent argument in front of the House with regards to equality. He stated that while he didn't believe all people were equal because we're not for various reasons, but under the eyes of the LAW, we need to be, that we need to be treated as such. While he was talking about race, I believe the same applies to marriage/relationships. None are equal. Take the Clintons, the Obamas, any one of Newt Gingrich's three marriages and Brittney Spears first 55 hour marriage. All they all equal? Not even close! Are they under the law? Absolutely! And it's time to get on the correct side of history and recognize that all who choose to be legally married, will be under the eyes of the law. You don't need to believe that one marriage is equal to another. Legally, it's time. And the sooner people stop fighting what you all know will be legal everywhere in this country in the not too distant future, the sooner both sides can save their money fighting it and put that money to better use.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

It's cracking me up that conservatives think the 75K means she won. The entire reason why the Alliance Defense Fund backed her was to establish a precedent that would overturn counseling practices not just at EMU, but also nationwide. That she settled means she got some cash but lost the battle. Those counseling practices and policies, which say you can refuse to serve someone because of personal bigotry, remain the exact same as prior to the suit.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

I was wondering when the intellectually superior crowd would show up.

Mike Klobuchar

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:27 a.m.

and A2Citizen just cannot understand that little fact...see his comment above...he is sooo easily confused by facts.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

Oops, my last sentence should have read: Those counseling practices and policies, which say you can't refuse to serve someone because of personal bigotry, remain the exact same as prior to the suit.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

"...The lawsuit sought to ... require students in its counseling program to counsel students in conformance with the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association..." Why doesn't EMU want students to conform to the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association? Or is this a misprint?


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

@a2citizen: You're correct. The lawsuit occurred because EMU punished Ms Ward for FOLLOWING the ACA's code of ethics. The ACA code specifically ALLOWS for client referrals such as the one Ms Ward requested. It's a standard and accepted practice in professional counseling and this fact was highlighted in the 6th Circuits opinion. Everyone also seems more than willing to overlook that EMU itself agreed to the client referral. The lawsuit came about when, after allowing the client referral, EMU then proceeded to punish Ms Ward for her beliefs, and for her correct & responsible handling (per ACA's ethics rules) of a potential client conflict issue. As part of this punishment EMU required that Ms Ward agree to undergo a remediation program to "correct" her beliefs in order to remain a student at EMU. She rightly refused and EMU summarily expelled her, thus the lawsuit. I would wager that if EMU ordered anyone other than a Christian to undergo such a "remediation program" in order to "correct" their religious beliefs the ACLU and a host of other rights groups would be up in arms and staging protests around the clock.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

Lawyer Tedesco is crowing about a victory, but you can bet that there are several new forms to sign that affirm therapists working in the clinic will treat anyone who present, without bias. Its sad that common sense things like this have to be written down and signed. But anyone who spends the time in this program and doesn't feel empathy for all patients with problems, has picked the wrong field of endeavor. I suggest the auto repair business.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

So what if she got a job counseling K-12 students and there were gay or bisexual students who needed help???


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

She would refer them to someone else. Isn't that fair?


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Fortunately the university stepped in to make sure such an issue didn't happen by removing her from the program. I think they recognized that having a counselor refusing to counsel a student based on his/her sexual orientation could strongly reinforce feelings of persecution for the student. The Black Stallion3 is correct. She is free to hold those beliefs, but she can't act on those beliefs and still get certification from EMU to be a counselor. The success here is that she can hold her beliefs doing something else with her life (i.e. not counseling students), and EMU can continue to hold its high standards for counselors going through its graduate program.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

what would you say if the roles were reversed? a homosexual denys counsel to a christian, would you think that is fair?

The Black Stallion3

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

She did the right thing and is proud of it, she didn't have to do what you wanted her to do and that is fantastic !!!!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

i guess that person is out of luck, HB 5040 allows for discrimination.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Seems to me that nothing was accomplished other than Ms Ward getting $75k. How much of that is to cover her legal cost? She should have kept going if she wanted to see change...instead she took the money and ran...


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

Lawyers get 50% she got enough to pay for her degree from a college that beleaves as she does Liberty U.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

It is unfortunate that the University settled and allowed Ms. Ward to profit from her prejudices.

Middle America

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

She was so "prepared to really make them pay" that she accepted a settlement instead of going to trial? Do you realize that makes absolutely no sense?

The Black Stallion3

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I sure wish they would have went to a jury trial.......Julea was prepared to really make them pay and they knew it.

The Black Stallion3

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Way to go Julea Ward......I am so proud of you for sticking to your beliefs.....Congratulations !!!!

Mary Ann Barbary

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Hairman, are you equating same-sex love with serial murder? Ummmm, no.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Just for the FAUX support of her was just that...fake. She didn't deserve a dime. I'm glad the EMU won...


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

Stay with your beliefs. Thank God you were NOT counseling John Norman Collins. If you walked out on him would there have been a lawsuit? Do students HAVE to councel mass murderers to get a degree from EMU?? Go Hurons!!!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

It's not often you find someone applauded for "sticking to [her] beliefs" and "not caving" when accepting a settlement offer.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

I'm proud of you too Julia....for sticking around until payday!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

She did NOT stick to her beliefs. She took a 75K check. The university's policies and practices remain the same!

The Black Stallion3

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Like I said.......way to go Julea......we are proud of you for not caving to the left.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

by sticking to her beliefs do you mean settling out of court for $75,000 and changing nothing with the policy? If her belief was the bilk the school for undeserved money, then yes, she stuck to her beliefs.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

When did "admit their prejudices" replace the individuals right to a belief? If it isn't YOUR belief does that make is prejudice? Why?

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

nekm1, that's how liberals think. if you disagree with them on anything, you must have some sort of phobia, because their beliefs are perfect. The truth is all they are is groupthink.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

you're conflating prejudice and belief as if they're the same thing. For some, that may be true, but that doesn't make it a rational argument. From the OED: Prejudice: Preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience; bias, partiality; (now) spec. unreasoned dislike, hostility, or antagonism towards, or discrimination against, a race, sex, or other class of people. Belief: Mental conviction


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

You go girl!!!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

@ a2citizen - Exactly. What does god have to do with this? NOTHING.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

What does Jesus have to do with this?


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Yes go! Go to a place that truely beleaves as she does Liberty U.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

For what? Religious beliefs? She would have to have those convictions first. Where did Jesus say hate your brothers and sisters, or better yet, only love some of the children of god? $75K does not seem like a very strong religious belief or conviction to me.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Hopefully the good thing that comes out of this case is that people who want to go to EMU to become counselors must admit their prejudices and truly determine if counseling is for them. I'm glad the case is over, EMU gets to maintain its policies and Ms. Ward and counsel the type of people she's comfortable with.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

Too bad. It sets a bad precedent, and I wish EMU had fought it. They have a right to set high standards, and go with the best assessments of the medical/counseling community. The idea of homosexuality being a "choice" was thrown out a long time ago by all but the ignorant and bigoted.

Basic Bob

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I think Ms. Ward would agree with you, since she was not attempting to convert anyone. And EMU does not need to change anything - they have won.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

I am glad to see that this action is being resolved out of court. The university's liability insurance carrier was likely footing the legal defense bill so the university had every incentive to go to trial if it felt it was on legally solid ground. Seems to me EMU may have feared an adverse ruling if they had proceeded to trial. Now their challenged policies remain intact at a cost of $75,000.00 to the liability carrier. God bless Jolea Ward.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Looks like God didn't want her to be a counselor!

greg, too

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

They also might have just wanted this to end and not get any more national attention. EMU has not exactly had a good decade when it comes to the national press. And her name is Julea...not Jolea.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Kraft said the resolution of the lawsuit will leave the university's policies, programs and curricular requirements intact. As long as she has no diploma to show for it. It's a wash. The bigger issue now is at the State level. Can we just right a check and get rid of them too?


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Sorry, "write". Freudian??


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

So if I went to EMU and refused to counsel a gay student, EMU kicks me out and then what? I bring up a lawsuit against EMU and get a quick $75,000? If their policy is in place and they feel it's justified then they shouldn't have given her a dime. This still leaves the door open for someone down the line to do the exact same thing.

greg, too

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

If the real goal of this suit was to affect change in the department and to change a policy that the she believed to be unconstitutional, then why did they take a payout instead of forcing a change in the policy? We do not know what went on in the bargaining of the settlement, but it would seem that if her real goal was to change the policy, she failed to do that. Instead, she just took money from the school, through it's insurance policy premiums, and didn't change a single thing outside of sullying the university's name even more. I guess this could be seen as a win for the department, as they did not have to change their policies, but hardly a win for Ward...unless her only goal was to get paid. Christian advocates could see this as a win as the circuit court did harshly reprimand EMU, but since no policies were changed, what was actually accomplished?


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

So what does this mean for future cases like this? Will public universities just accept people going through their programs unwilling to counsel homosexuals? Would someone be able to go through the program and be unwilling to counsel someone of a different race? I really wish the University hadn't settled and had hopefully won the case against such an ignorant viewpoint.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Nick, trying to claim that turning someone away because they cannot pay for services is the same as turning someone away because they're a homosexual is completely ridiculous. There is no comparison between the two. One is an economic status and the other is a sexual orientation protected by discrimination laws.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:52 a.m.

@Nick: A counselor would be remiss to refuse to discuss their client's interest in religion, there is little about the pursuit of spirituality which is considered to be maladaptive in psychology. So, too, is this the case for homosexuality. A larger part of this issue is something which may not be salient: the risk of harm to the client, a factor which is ultimately responsible for many of the policies psychologists operate under. To be allowed into a client's life, to have their fears, concerns, pains, and joys communicated to you, is often a very emotionally compromising experience for that client. In this, it is not always the case that the client is aware of, or comfortable discussing, issues regarding sexual orientation that they may become more interested in discussing over the process of their care. For these individuals in this potentially emotionally compromised state, to be 'cast aside', so to speak, for expressing these concerns could be devastating. While it may seem that being referred is a minor issue to someone not emotionally attached to the circumstances, you may do your client a severe disservice by gaining their trust only to turn them away. A great deal is expected of a practicing psychologist, undeniably, but would we really want it to be any other way?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

@ Nick, Other than the fact she is a STUDENT, not a business getting paid for her service. The next medical student can then say, I am a Christian Scientist and do not believe in western medicine so I am going to send a person away. A STUDENT does not have the right to decide what they are going to learn. What she does in her own practice is up to her but until she has a license, she is there to LEARN


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Let me ask you this: what if the client was a conservative Christian expressing issues of their faith? Would, and should, you reaffirm their Christian principles if they conflicted with your own? Probably not. The proper approach would be to refer the client. This way, you are not breaking the ACA rules in discriminating against someone, nor are you forced to reaffirm values which may conflict with your own. The university had adamantly contended that their policies (which they claim gave Ms. Ward the boot) were consistent with the ACA rules. This contention, however, was rejected by the 6th Circuit. In perhaps the best example given by the Court: "Counselors likewise may turn away—refer—clients who cannot pay for their services. See Dugger Dep., R. 82-6 at 58–59; Francis Dep., R. 82-7 at 64. Understandable though that policy may be, it appears to violate another feature of the ethics code, which forbids discrimination based on "socioeconomic status." R. 14-7 at 59. The policy thus seems to permit referrals for secular—indeed mundane—reasons, but not for faith-based reasons." Is it, therefore, equally "ignorant" (as you put it) to reject a client if they are unable to pay you for your services in counseling them? I think not.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

@ hail: I get what you're saying but remember that Ward had an entire legal team behind her. That legal team was seeking to establish a precedent that would overturn EMU's counseling practices - and then do the same nationwide. Most grad students don't have the personal resources to hire an entire legal team. So the likelihood of similar suits, especially now that Ward's lost, seems small.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Except for the next time a student with the same opinion goes through the program and challenges the same policies. By giving up and paying her off, they are just prolonging a fight that will either have to be fought again down the road or will have to be fought by another university. It may be their hope that some other university actually challenges a student like this and follows through the legal system to get a ruling on the policies. But as it stands, they could find themselves in court again tomorrow for the same thing.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

It cost 75K but the university's policies and practices remain the same, so they won out.