Education

More News | |

ASU student says gays have 'identity confusion'

Woman says allegations of conversion therapy are false

  • Follow Education

A student who is suing Augusta State University says she considers gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyles as "identity confusion," and shared those views in class discussions and written assignments.

Back | Next
Augusta State University graduate student Jennifer Keeton has filed a lawsuit against the university that names assistant professors Paulette Schenck and Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley.   Special
Special
Augusta State University graduate student Jennifer Keeton has filed a lawsuit against the university that names assistant professors Paulette Schenck and Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley.

Jennifer Keeton, a 24-year-old graduate student, said in an e-mail Friday that she had told Paulette Schenck, an ASU assistant professor named as a defendant in the suit, that homosexuality is a behavioral choice. However, Keeton said allegations by college officials that she would encourage conversion therapy on students or her clients is false.

ASU and state Board of Regents officials said Friday they couldn't talk about the lawsuit, which claims ASU professors demanded Keeton suppress her views on homosexuals to remain in a counseling program.

School spokeswoman Kathy Schofe said the university has not been served with the legal paperwork but officials are aware that Keeton is suing the university.

John Millsaps, a Regents spokesman, said the lawsuit has muzzled both the university and state officials.

Schofe said much the same, but added: "Hopefully, I'll be able to comment soon, because we're being slammed."

She said commenting on Keeton's academic standing would violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. She also said university faculty do not discriminate in regards to religious or moral beliefs.

The counselor education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, and more than 250 students have graduated from the program, Schofe said.

The counseling program follows the American School Counselor Association's ethical standards, which specify that counselors in training must "recognize and accept" individual differences, cultural diversity and alternative points of view.

In her suit, Keeton, who wants to become a school counselor, claims Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an ASU associate professor, requested that Keeton take part in a remediation plan because of her beliefs about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.

Keeton was ordered to take part in diversity training and write two-page reflection papers monthly on how "her study has influenced her beliefs," according to court documents. The lawsuit claims that Keeton will be removed from the ASU counseling program if she does not comply with the plan.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance that supports religious freedom, filed the suit for Keeton in U.S. District Court in Augusta on Wednesday. The agency has declined to allow Keeton to be interviewed, but she has responded to submitted e-mail questions.

Elizabeth Evans, of Louisville, said she had a similar experience when she began the counselor education program at ASU in 1995. After taking three courses, Evans said she was interviewed by a panel of professors who questioned her religious beliefs.

"I told them I think homosexuality is wrong. The Bible speaks against it," she said. "I was not admitted to the program, because of my beliefs. When I read the article, my heart hurt for Jennifer."

Evans said she decided to pursue a master's degree in early childhood education at the university. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree.

Though she found her calling, she said Christian students at the university should not be treated as Keeton has.

"I can't believe they suggested that she go to the gay pride parade," Evans said. "I hope she sues the pants off of them."


Comments (522) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 07/24/10 - 04:14 am
0
0
The only one suffering from

The only one suffering from "identity confusion" is Ms. Keeton.

ss30809
44
Points
ss30809 07/24/10 - 04:38 am
0
0
Ms. Keeton needs to

Ms. Keeton needs to understand that the bible is not the word for everyone. I have had the 'pleasure' to share classes with her, and frankly I wish she would shut it, and keep her "Christian" opinions to herself. The university is just asking you to open your eyes and be more open-minded, if you don't like it, you should have gone to a Christian university, not a public one!

datarelease
2
Points
datarelease 07/24/10 - 04:45 am
0
0
oooooh! It just occurred to

oooooh!
It just occurred to me!
She needs...

PALIN POWER.

areps2
0
Points
areps2 07/24/10 - 05:59 am
0
0
Lord help you if you disagree

Lord help you if you disagree with the liberal bigots of the world. How dare this woman disagree with the thought police, and on top of that she is a Christian.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 07/24/10 - 06:20 am
0
0
The higher education
Unpublished

The higher education institutions in our country disgust me. Where do all these Neo Nazzi professors come from that just cannot grasp the reality someone might have a belief in a higher power. I guess their mommies raised on too much simalac/enfamil and not enough mothers milk. I'd also like to know why its perfectly OK for college professors to influence young students against devine design concepts and lifestyle acceptances but taboo if one of them might possibly rebel against that after graduation. Who's practicing intolerance here?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 07/24/10 - 06:16 am
0
0
Keeton's not pro-gay so she

Keeton's not pro-gay so she has to be indoctrinated? If this is the school's position, they'll have trouble in court. If it isn't, and the "professor" was just forcing her perspective on Keeton because of religious bias, the school is in trouble in court.

speeding
0
Points
speeding 07/24/10 - 06:24 am
0
0
Jennifer, Sue the attitude

Jennifer, Sue the attitude out of em.

datarelease
2
Points
datarelease 07/24/10 - 06:34 am
0
0
to lsmith: you see, the

to lsmith: you see, the reason "higher education institutions" don't accept an antagonistically devoted belief in a higher power...because it's bleeping wrong. incorrect to such an extent that most people become nauseous at the slightest bit of doubt. i mean, like...someone asking why the sky is green. ya know? it just isn't.

science has the authority to tell you god doesn't exist, sociology can show you how ideology is breakfast cereal, and psychoanalysis can account for our natural inclination towards bisexuality.

religion tells you: "do that and i'll kill you."

Dixieman
15331
Points
Dixieman 07/24/10 - 07:05 am
0
0
I say that she and Dr.

I say that she and Dr. Bloodworth, President of ASU, mudwrestle in the middle of the ASU campus to decide this instead of suing. Rules:
1. Bathing suits only
2. General admission $10; ringside $15; all proceeds to ACLU if she loses or Church of Her Choice if she wins.
3. Best 2 out of 3 falls takes it -- if she wins, she gets her degree, if Dr. Bloodworth wins, ASU gets exclusive rights to t-shirt concessions at Augusta Gay Pride parade next year.
This would be quicker, cheaper, and a whole lot more fun than a lawsuit!!

jmbcheerbpc
0
Points
jmbcheerbpc 07/24/10 - 06:39 am
0
0
I dont understand everyones

I dont understand everyones view or opinions nor do I expect them to understand mine. I have no malice toward Miss Keeton for being stead fast in her personal belief system. I also dont support her choice to sue ASU staff for program requirements. I personally did not attend ASU I did go to a Private Christian school in south GA. As in every program there are usually assignments, classes, or activites that not every student agrees with in some form or fashion, but it is the requirements for the program and school. I personally being a gay male in the CSRA; graduating high school locally would feel fearful of going to a counselor that doesn't have an open mind towards personal religious and moral beliefs. I have never asked any of my family, friends, co-workers, bosses, school staff to accept my life style! I have only asked to be respected as a person, employee, and student. If had to go through "coming out" again with a counselor that was closed minded and had baised views for whatever reason; it would have been more heart aching and stressful than it already was. As a teen there a certainly enough emotional and physical stresses placed on student shoulders. The last thing any gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered student needs is a narrow mind school counselor preaching to them that they are morally wrong based off personal beliefs. I was always taught young in life that everyone is granted their very own set of morals, as humans being we shape and grow our morals from our own choices, our family, and friends. I would hate to think that my morals are wrong because some doesnt morally agree!

disssman
6
Points
disssman 07/24/10 - 06:49 am
0
0
I wonder what kind of advice

I wonder what kind of advice she would have given to a young gay student in High school who may have been Jewish, Moslem or any religion but christian? In fact, regardless of life style, what would her advice be for anyone of a differing religion?

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 07/24/10 - 06:57 am
0
0
Let's see, gay human beings
Unpublished

Let's see, gay human beings are the only creatures on Earth that show such behavior toward their own sex, and cannot reproduce among themselves. Hey, seems perfectly normal behavior to me. I hope DATA, calls me every bad name in the book. I would consider that a badge of honor from somone that proudly displays a hammer and sickle as their post symbol. I'll bet he's a Obama supporter too. Birds of a feather.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 07/24/10 - 07:05 am
0
0
Well done disssman, you

Well done disssman, you missed every single point of this disagreement with your 6:49. (hint: you could have mentioned shoe color in your post without coming any nearer to the subject at hand)

annw
15
Points
annw 07/24/10 - 07:11 am
0
0
Everything this woman says is

Everything this woman says is right out of the unltraconservative religious right playbook. She's the ADF's stooge and they fed this bogus story to the Chronicle and other media who fell for it. Let her sue, but let's hope that the University System of GA fights the suit with everything they have and that ADF looses big time and have to pay all court costs and legal fees.

Dixieman
15331
Points
Dixieman 07/24/10 - 09:19 am
0
0
Book XIX: Why Do the Heathen

Book XIX: Why Do the Heathen Rage?
1. Expend not thy time, nor thine ink, nor tappest thou on thy keyboard in the early hours before the dawn, in futile argument with the heathen.
2. The heathen art those with whom thou disagreest. Thy most honeyed or bitter words shall not change their tiny little minds by even one mote, yea, or even half a mote or a lesser portion thereof, yea, even by one neutrino.
3. They shall mock thee, and cause thy typographical errors to be held up to the utmost scorn, also, thy political beliefs, thy screen name, and thine ancestry.
4. Go forth into the world and partake one or more cups of java before thou considerest thy next reply, and I will show thee how to chill out. This one shall be led into the forum showing "Brokeback Mountain," and that one into the forum showing "The Passion of the Christ," each according to his or her preferences.
5. Or lifestyle choices.
7. Or genetic predispositions.
8. Or moral choices.
9. Or whatever causes this stuff.
10. Surely thy time is better spent in pursuits other than reading this drivel? Hast thou no lambs to care for, no wheat to be harvested, no oil in thy chariot to be changed together with the filter thereof?
11. Cease troubling each other here and go thy in separate ways, to and fro upon the earth, each of thee according to thy stubbornly unchangeable ideas.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 07/24/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
Dissman: "I wonder what kind

Dissman: "I wonder what kind of advice she would have given to a young gay student in High school who may have been Jewish, Moslem or any religion but christian?"

As licensing dictates, the counselor would simply refer students with whom she may have a personal conflict of interest to another counselor. The school will end up paying a large settlement of our taxpayer money, but that's OK, it's our money -- not theirs. This is no different that a physician who does not perform abortions due to a religious conflict, but may refer patients to another provider. When these physicians attend medical school, they are not asked to view abortions so they can "understand how the other side feels."

justmyvu
0
Points
justmyvu 07/24/10 - 07:31 am
0
0
Jennifer is entitled to her

Jennifer is entitled to her opinion regardless of whether others agree with it or not, however, it is not identity confusion if someone's sexual preference is for the same sex or prefers to have a relationship of any kind with someone of the same sex. The people she is referring to know who they are and what they want. That's not confusion it's choice.

ishouldknowbetter
0
Points
ishouldknowbetter 07/24/10 - 07:32 am
0
0
I like Christians who are

I like Christians who are loving and kind. You know, like Jesus.

TJ Parker
0
Points
TJ Parker 07/24/10 - 07:40 am
0
0
There you go: a student

There you go: a student teaching her professors. A student, trying to learn the standards of professionalism required of conselors, trying to do an end-run around those standards by taking her school to court. Little girl: you've clearly demonstrated that you don't have the temperment to be a counselor.

You see, a counselor's job is not to counsel only those students who share your religious beliefs. Its sometimes hard to accept that you're not suitable for a particular job; but public schools are not the place for religious zealots and anti-gay activists.

TJ Parker
0
Points
TJ Parker 07/24/10 - 07:44 am
0
0
I love these "Christians" who

I love these "Christians" who always intone:

"That's not confusion it's choice."

As if "choice" makes you feel better about your own bigotry. Who is it who perpetuates these lies? Really, what human being choose whom he/she falls in love with? Since when is that a choice? On the contrary, the history of literature, poetry, music and human culture has shown just the opposite.

The arrogance of bigots is sometimes astounding.

bubbadan40
0
Points
bubbadan40 07/24/10 - 07:45 am
0
0
Blah blah blah yadda yadda

Blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda - I wonder who decided what the degree of sin was? homosexuality is number 1 I guess - next possibly murder followed by Child molestation? I don't know I get the list confused. Maybe some "Christian" could explain it to me from the mountain top holding a bible and cross and sporting a fish on their bumper while telling everyone else they are going to hell.. That should clear things right up.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 07/24/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
I would like to know who will

I would like to know who will hire her now that it is nationally known that she is likely to sue when she is asked to do something she doesn't like? Public schools will shy away because some parent might sue them over her actions. Public and private schools will shy away from her because she has shown that when given remediation to make her better at her job she is likely to sue.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 07/24/10 - 07:53 am
0
0
Ms. Keeton has everyone upset

Ms. Keeton has everyone upset because she spoke the truth. Everyone knows gay sex is sin or they wouldn't be so upset and attacking her. Only the truth upsets folks and lies never do. Most of the upset folks are in that group betting their future on there being no God and no one to answer to for their lifestyle. With that risk comes stress and it shows up in the comments. The Bible says near the end of this age folks would call evil good and good evil. She has took a stand and most of us go along to get along, where the Word says it is better to be hot or cold.

Rhetor
1015
Points
Rhetor 07/24/10 - 07:55 am
0
0
Keep in mind, please, that we

Keep in mind, please, that we have only heard one side of the story-hers. The university has not yet presented its facts, and things might (or might not) appear in a much different light once they have done so. Southernguy, if you ever took college biology, you should know that same-sex behavior is common in the animal world.

Runner46
0
Points
Runner46 07/24/10 - 08:00 am
0
0
Beyond religion, all we need

Beyond religion, all we need do is look around us in nature to find out what is right and wrong. Does homosexuality work in nature with species having male and female? Is homosexuality a normal behavior pattern? Is it really up to the individual to decide or do we follow a religion to tell us how to behave?
In this case, Ms. Keeton has a moral issue based on her personal beliefs. Her employer does not want her to express those beliefs on the job. In this country, where do individual rights end and employer rights begin? We shall find out in court.

RGunn
0
Points
RGunn 07/24/10 - 08:01 am
0
0
Maybe I'm wrong but I think

Maybe I'm wrong but I think that this is another person trying to make money the easy way by having a lawsuit because someones feeling got hurt. I have not read all the comments, but I can understand that what the faculty are ASU were trying to accomplish. How is this girl going to work in the real world as a counselor? The only thing she is doing, is making a name for herself so if she does get a real job, or just sit on the money she may win from this lawsuit, people will do some research and find out she had this lawsuit and not want her services because she is judgmental, and not open to someones issues.

NoHayManera
140
Points
NoHayManera 07/24/10 - 08:05 am
0
0
Pretty much the same story as

Pretty much the same story as on the 22nd. What's the matter AC? You realize that the last article lacked a liberal slant?

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 07/24/10 - 08:05 am
0
0
People may want her to

People may want her to council them because they know she stands for something. People are drawn to strength and not weakness. All good council is based on the Word whether anyone will say so or not. There is no other basis for truth except what everyone thinks and that doesn't seem to work out too well. I think she would be in great demand.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 07/24/10 - 08:27 am
0
0
In Nature... there ARE
Unpublished

In Nature... there ARE circumstances in which same sex animals git-it-on... nor are all animals monogomous. She should really find another field of expertise because this is the wrong one for her if she plans to be dealing with a public school system filled with diverse groups of people in which her religion do not agree with. Perhaps she should just be a lunchroom lady.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 07/24/10 - 08:39 am
0
0
datrarelease: We haven't
Unpublished

datrarelease: We haven't heard the colleges side of the story so we don't know what they are requiring of her as far as her religion, and I'm NOT advocating that she inject her beliefs in her interaction with students. If that is her mission in life she perhaps should receive her accreditaion from another type school. I imply......and this is easily verifiable that college professors are overwelmingly anti-religion and a great many interject their own beliefs to their students. Some might argue that professors come to their conclusions because they are superiorly endowed intellectually. I would submit that most are a product of the system which perpetuates a bias against religion, and it's taking our country into a direction I deplore.
Now, with this being said, you're hearing this defense of Ms Keetons rights from an agnostic.......I don't have a dog in this fight on either side. I do believe a little religion never hurt anybody. It's when it radicalized on either side that fur starts flying. Intollerance runs both ways. I'm just sayin.....

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs