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Christian student sues ASU

School says master's candidate must change beliefs, suit states

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An Augusta State University graduate student is facing dismissal from the university's counseling program unless she silences her convictions on homosexuality and gender identity, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Jennifer Keeton is suing ASU for trying to silence her religious views.   Special
Special
Jennifer Keeton is suing ASU for trying to silence her religious views.

Jennifer Keeton, 24, plans to press forward with her lawsuit against the university if she is not allowed to retain her biblical viewpoints and remain a graduate student at ASU, according to the complaint filed by the Alliance Defense Fund. The complaint names ASU President William Bloodworth and professors Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, Paulette Schenck and Richard Deaner as defendants, according to the documents filed in United States District Court in Augusta.

"Jennifer Keeton has not been accused of mistreating a client," said David French, senior counsel for ADF, a legal alliance that supports religious freedom. "She's being told, 'You must change your beliefs or we'll deny you a degree.' "

Keeton claims that she has voiced her Christian beliefs inside and outside the classroom on homosexuality and other biblical teachings. ASU faculty has ordered her to undergo a remediation plan, which would include diversity sensitivity workshops, she says.

Professors also suggested that she attend Augusta's Gay Pride Parade last month, Keeton told her attorneys. As a part of the plan, she would report back once a month to faculty to determine whether the activities have an impact on her convictions.

Keeton, who is from the Atlanta area, plans to become a school counselor, and says she refuses to change her religious beliefs. She enrolled in the program last fall, but was not asked to begin the remediation plan until this summer.

"While I want to stay in the school counseling program, I know that I can't honestly complete the remediation plan knowing that I would have to alter my beliefs," Keeton said in a video produced by the defense fund. "I'm not willing to, and I know I can't change my biblical views."

Her lawyers declined a request for an interview with Keeton.

The defense fund has handled similar cases the past few years. A Missouri State University social work student filed suit against the university when she was asked to change her views on same-sex adoption, French said. The university later settled. An Eastern Michigan University counseling student filed suit when the university threatened to dismiss her for her religious views. The case is still pending.

"This is an emerging trend in education, social work and counseling," French said. "Schools are trying to ensure that their children graduate with a particular world view."

Edward Delgado-Romero, a University of Georgia associate professor of counseling psychology, said he is not familiar with the case, but is aware that every university counseling program has national guidelines on training and practice. Every student entering the counseling field should be aware of what is considered acceptable, he said.

"All programs that are training professional counselors have guidelines, not in terms of belief but in terms of behavior during training and treatment," Delgado-Romero said. "A student saying 'I personally have religious beliefs against this group, and I will convince my clients to believe this' would be a conflict."

Delgado-Romero said that UGA's faculty would not force a student to change their beliefs, but there would be discussions on how personal beliefs should not affect treatment of clients.

Messages left for an Augusta State University spokeswoman were not returned Thursday evening.

Though Keeton has refused the remediation plan, the university has not taken steps to dismiss her, French said.

Keeton is suing the university for actual and nominal damages to vindicate her "constitutional injuries," according to court documents. She is also requesting that the university pay for her attorney fees.

"I really want to serve others," Keeton said. "I want to strengthen and prepare young people for the challenges they will face."


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robnsnest
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robnsnest 07/22/10 - 11:32 pm
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Fedup...Just because a person

Fedup...Just because a person has convictions, does not make them a nut case. And to say she has no brains, that is very condescending. Apparently some of the readers in here have been victims of social engineering in the name of political correctness. Hitler would be proud that this is happening in America.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 07/22/10 - 11:27 pm
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This girl has a right to

This girl has a right to challenge what she deems is religious bias. I guess a lot of you would feel differently if she were for Homosexuality and the situation was reversed. To borrow a much over used phrase from one who knows who he is: Can you smell the hypocrisy in the air now?

robnsnest
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robnsnest 07/22/10 - 11:31 pm
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I don't believe that ASU

I don't believe that ASU would take this action toward a non-Christian faith. What a sad commentary on what some of the academic community has drifted into. Neil Boortz, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh will be all over this. I guess if the ASU admin wanted free publicity, then they will get their share.

joeuser
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joeuser 07/22/10 - 11:33 pm
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Let me get this straight. If

Let me get this straight. If I have "Christian" beliefs I have to be more open-minded and am not really fit to counsel, but if I am a secular humanist all is okay.

Just typical ASU.

Don't let these posters fool you. I went to ASU in the 80's when it was Augusta College and my daughter went to ASU in the mid 2000's. If you were in ANY way not liberal in your thinking and anti-Christian in your beliefs, then you were chastised by many (not all) professors.

A professor of hers once told here that he was given the worst office in the worst section of his department because he was of a conservative bent of mind.

Make no mistake about it. ASU is liberal and anti-Christian. Period. Not to mention totally incompetent. We had to send transcripts to ASU not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times from another school.

If you are a student taking English for the first time and you happen to be conservative...make sure you write papers about how bad George Bush was and how great Obama is and you will pass. Don't let the professor know you are conservative until you get your passing grade.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 07/22/10 - 11:41 pm
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joeuser, you are certainly on

joeuser, you are certainly on target and this is just not ASU. In the U.S. our colleges and graduate schools have been totally taken over by liberal left wing educators that don't teach the facts but rewrite history and exalt the left wing's radical agenda. You learn pretty quick in class to keep your mouth shut and just give them the answers they want back on the tests. I guess if we are going to teach this generation in conservative values it will have to be outside of the college classes. Hey maybe we should fight to make it mandatory for all these liberal professors and students to listen to so many hours of Rush Limbaugh so they can learn tolerance. LOL

khawkin4
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khawkin4 07/22/10 - 11:39 pm
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This is the most ridiculous

This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while! If any of her instructors at ASU had actually required her to "change her beliefs" or be out of the program, that would be extremely unethical & most definitely grounds for a lawsuit. However, diversity & sensitivity training is a completely different issue! There is a way to make one's beliefs known without condemning another, & I'm sure that if ASU's fine professors have suggested she take this training, that was not what she was doing. Really, she wants to be a counselor? So I suppose she just assumes that every person she runs into is going to share her prejudice? I wonder how she will react when some poor child confides in his school counselor that he may be gay, & she condemns him to hell! Better yet, I wonder how his parents would react! I see many more lawsuits in this woman's future. I have to say, I'm a little ashamed to say that she & I attend the same university!

blessed78
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blessed78 07/22/10 - 11:40 pm
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I think this young lady needs

I think this young lady needs to get over herself. I don't think ASU wants her to change her biblical views, but she needs to know that whatever field you work in you will encounter people from all walks of life (gay,straight, black, white,etc) One cannot discriminate based on your own personal beliefs thats why god made us all different

fred1
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fred1 07/22/10 - 11:40 pm
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She needs to be sued by LGBT

She needs to be sued by LGBT groups for her homophobic refusal to work with them in a taxpayer funded school.

dstewartsr
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dstewartsr 07/22/10 - 11:40 pm
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Should have told them she was

Should have told them she was a Muslim --who have even more violent means of dealing with the same issues she raised-- and watched them bow and scrape! Christian? Old liberal word meaning doormat.

joeuser
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joeuser 07/22/10 - 11:44 pm
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P.S. I am sooooooo grateful

P.S. I am sooooooo grateful that we have soooo many more choices when it comes to education in this area.

ASU doesn't get it...that their little monopoly is gone and there are many more alternatives that actually work with students who have existing careers and families.

One day, ASU, you won't be expanding, but you will be scaling back because no one will want to go there any more (at least not enough to maintain all of your state funding).

GMC: (706) 650-5631
Virginia College: (706) 288-2500
Troy University: (706) 210-3800
Phoenix University: (706) 868-2000

Just to name a FEW. I have two (2) kids that are going to two of the above and NOT ASU anymore.

Within 5 years it is estimated that over 30% of all classes will be online...10 years over 50%.

Riverrunner30909
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Riverrunner30909 07/22/10 - 11:46 pm
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If she believes in the Bible
Unpublished

If she believes in the Bible she cannot change her belief. It tells you over and over it is a sin. If it were to happen once like any other sin it would be forgiven but to keep going back and back and staying in the homosexual lifestyle you cannot be forgiven until you stop never to return to that sin. It is just like having an affair during marriage.

joeuser
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joeuser 07/22/10 - 11:58 pm
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Everyone can attack Jennifer

Everyone can attack Jennifer if you want to and make her sound homophobic, etc. but believe me, I have been there. It was bad back in the 80's and according to my daughter and other family members it is far worse now.

You are made fun of and ridiculed in class for believing in anything that is of a Christian or conservative bent.

To order someone who disagrees with homosexuality to go through remedial classes is sick.

Hello...anuses were not designed for sex. Any proctologist will tell you that. Sorry if that offends anyone reading this...but it is the truth. Oh...and by the way...you are here because of a heterosexual event. Just thought you would like to know.

Oh...but I am a homophobe for pointing that out. Forgive me. I guess I will leave out all the stuff about diseases spread through anal sex, not to mention what happens shortly thereafter (the act) in most cases. Send me to remediation classes too so that I can see the bright side of it all.

sassylassie
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sassylassie 07/23/10 - 12:04 am
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Joeuser--you said it. I

Joeuser--you said it. I totally agree. If she was Muslim or Jewish or any other religion and was told to change her beliefs, the ACLU would descend upon this town like a swarm of locusts. I personally quit ASU and attend Phoenix. At least there, we respect each other and are not so PC that we have to have "diversity training." I wonder if they at ASU offer other religions "diveristy training." Probably not. I'm sick of them and their liberal, PC views, so yes I transferred. I hope the rest of the facts do come out here. I'm curious to see what happens.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 07/23/10 - 12:02 am
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joeuser, do you need to

joeuser, do you need to borrow my blood pressure medicine? LOL I know its hard to see what they do in our classrooms under illusion of education.

robnsnest
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robnsnest 07/23/10 - 12:15 am
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Let's hear it for academic

Let's hear it for academic competition. This academic arrogance on the part of ASU is not good for them or community building. I have a feeling that the admin folks will do what they often do...look at the bottom line. If the counseling department gets enough fiscal pressure, then maybe they will let Ms. Keeton mosey on into the sunset. Unfortunately these days, it's all about money.

Suzy Q
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Suzy Q 07/23/10 - 12:43 am
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I listened to the tape and

I listened to the tape and heard no evidence that she would be required to change her beliefs. Sounds to me like she's being advised that shoving those beliefs down students throats would not be tolerated.
Her guidance should not be based on her personal beliefs, period. How could she possibly offer guidance to Jewish students, or those raised to be Buddhists? Would she tell them that their beliefs are wrong or that they were headed straight for hell because they didn't follow the Christian faith?
I can't imagine what kind of harm she could potentially inflict on a student who came to her for guidance and wound up with judgement instead.

Her martyr act is not convincing, but she certainly seems to enjoy playing the role.

robnsnest
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robnsnest 07/23/10 - 12:49 am
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How come this article went

How come this article went dead from 12:10 to 12:40 AM on Friday? I was hoping that AC wasn't getting caught up in all of this political correctness. AC...just report the news. AC...keep up the good work.

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 07/23/10 - 12:54 am
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I have read the court

I have read the court documents. I sure she will pay dearly for court costs.

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:04 am
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Veggie-D ( and maybe

Veggie-D ( and maybe Robnsnest ) I see you all are in the loop !!
And yes robns , it is ALWAYS about the $$$$$$$$$

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:05 am
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Dominion FS - your 8:32 post

Dominion FS - your 8:32 post got me ROTF LMAO !!!!!!

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:06 am
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But Robns , please do not

But Robns , please do not give credit to AC ...

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:10 am
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Must give props to ...

Must give props to ... Bkavelko , Gaspringwater , Navytrader , Noway , Khawkin4 , Teachone ( your 5:52 admitting failure ) LarryM , Veggie-D , Dominion FS , and especially Paywhatuowe for very insightful posts .

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:12 am
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Bkavelko - You will do

Bkavelko - You will do EXTREMELY well in this field , as I can see your grasp of what is being taught to you , best of luck !

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:14 am
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BuenaVistaLife - Is it a

BuenaVistaLife - Is it a class which leads to a job ?

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:15 am
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Cadence - No religous

Cadence - No religous ideology is being presented , rather PREVENTED , which is a good thing .

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:16 am
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James M. Kauffman - Leviticus

James M. Kauffman - Leviticus ? Exodus ? 1313 ? ROTF LMAO !!!!!

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:20 am
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FACT = Flipa invents her own

FACT = Flipa invents her own .

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:24 am
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Thank you once more to LarryM

Thank you once more to LarryM for his professional insight on this thread .

datarelease
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datarelease 07/23/10 - 01:26 am
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Hey, here's the thing;

Hey, here's the thing; regardless of how far this moron takes her self-righteousness, she's still dead wrong! big joke, and i could give two schnitzels who pays the bill. keep god out of my school.

3g
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3g 07/23/10 - 01:29 am
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Thank you Datarelease ( like

Thank you Datarelease ( like the name )

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