ASU and state Board of Regents officials said last week they couldn't talk about the lawsuit, which claims ASU professors demanded Jennifer Keeton suppress her views on homosexuals to remain in a college counseling program.ASU's statement, posted on Facebook this morning and provided to a Chronicle reporter on Tuesday, says this:
There has been much media attention focused on an allegation of discrimination by a student in our counseling program. Augusta State University, a unit of the University System of Georgia, does not discriminate against any individuals on the basis of their personal, social, political, or religious beliefs or views. No student is asked to change their religious beliefs or views in order to participate in any program.
I will refer you to the Board of Regents Policy Manual: 4.1.2 Non-Discrimination: The Board of Regents stipulates that no USG student, on the ground of race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age or handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia or any of its several institutions now in existence or hereafter established (BOR Minutes, October, 1969, p. 154; 1979-80, p. 15).
ASU adheres to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics. Standard A.1.a of the code of ethics states that the “primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.”
The ASU Counselor Education program is committed to ensuring that graduates both understand and can fulfill their obligations to set personal values aside and empower clients to solve their own problems. As counselor educators in a CACREP accredited program, faculty have a duty to ensure that those completing our program will affirm and abide by these ethical codes in all counseling situations.
The counseling profession requires its practitioners to recognize that people set and adhere to their own moral compass. The professional counselor’s job is to help clients clarify their current feelings and behaviors and to help them reach the goals that they have determined for themselves, not to dictate what those goals should be, what morals they should possess, or what values they should adopt.
ASU will not comment on pending litigation or the individual status of any student.