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.
CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 07/24/10 - 10:54 am
0
0
As to majority oppressing

As to majority oppressing minority, that is certainly a possibility but really has no position in this discussion. Certainly blacks deserved and achieved equal status but now the pendulum has swung the opposition direction with many blacks who want more than their share of the pie and continue to blame their lack on slavery, of which they know nothing. Women have gained the right to vote but again, some of them, and my emphasis on both statements is SOME, have gone way beyond that in particular the lovely Nancy Pelosi who believes that she has been crowned queen mother of our country with unlimited power. two well know black men appear at every controversial event to proclaim their versions of truth - but the truth of the matter in this particular lawsuit appears to question whether or not a professor can basically require one to abandon Christian beliefs in order to be admitted and successfully maneuver a program in counseling. End of story. By the way, in a representative democracy one side or the other must prevail and it is generally accepted that the majority will win out - therefore in an election the "winner" must receive 50.1% or more of the votes.

klater1
0
Points
klater1 07/24/10 - 11:02 am
0
0
I attend ASU. No problems

I attend ASU. No problems but have encountered one prof in particular that was very pushy in his views and really tried to hammer it into the students - most of them were half asleep anyway so probably didn't really work... The only thing I keep thinking is that if she were a Muslim student upset about a class that violated her belief than the ACLU would be here in a flash and the support for that student would be greater than what Ms. Keeton will ever get. She's White ,American and a Christian so therefore she must be wrong.....

jiclemens
0
Points
jiclemens 07/24/10 - 11:03 am
0
0
The bottom line is ASU has a

The bottom line is ASU has a moral obligation to assess students for their ability to process what they've learned and apply it to the real world. NO, she does NOT have a "right" to become a councelor. She only has a right to attempt to become one. This course of study is based strictly on science. She has written a stream of papers voiceing her opinion based on her religious views with no original research or scientific data to back her views up. It seems from these two articles she is too immature to distinguish between science and religion. She is too immature to distinguish professionalism from indoctrination. In the world of science and professional applications of it one must humbly hold their religious views in check, otherwise she could cause measurable harm to someone in need. She should have chosen missionary work or the ministry (assuming her church allows women to pursue such things).

edwardc
1
Points
edwardc 07/24/10 - 11:05 am
0
0
The Bible also says that

The Bible also says that someone who desecrates the Lord's Day (Sabbath) by something as trivial as gathering firewood must be taken outside the city limits and stoned to death by his fellow citizens. That should make eating out on Sunday a capital crime. Jennifer should be allowed to express her views, even though I don't share them. My view is that some people DO choose homosexuality; however, I also believe that for some people it is simply the way they were created and it is not a "choice." It isn't a big issue for me personally, but I know it is for others. In general my feeling is that as long as someone is not hurting or infringing on the rights of someone else (or an animal or the environment), they should be free to do pretty much what they choose. Of course, civil propriety is important too.

mdp
0
Points
mdp 07/24/10 - 11:07 am
0
0
You can make the bible say

You can make the bible say anything you want it to say. If you want to use it to support hatred, bigotry, prejudice, inhumanity, injustice, judgement, and to hurt other people, history is full of examples.
I wonder how she would counsel someone about selling their daughter into slavery, on about their stoning their neighbor, eating shellfish...and I see she is in public without a headcovering on. Will she be couseling on the moral depravity and sinfulness of pulled pork too? The bible is pretty clear on the fact that she should sit in the back of the church and let men decide these things.
Get over the homophobia and quit hiding behind religious law to try and sugar coat the intolerance. The law brings death, and he came to do away with the law. This type of hatred is a slap in the face to the work that was done on the cross. "There is no condemnation for those who are now in..." Do some work on Peter's dream in your next bible study. ...
In the kingdom of heaven their is neither Jew nor Greek (nationality/racism) male nor female, slave nor free. And the kingdom of heaven is amongst you now. You clean the outside of your cup, but inside..it's still filthy. In your minds you have total freedom, don't use that to sit with the brood of hypocritic vipers that passed their misguided judgments, trial, and nails. Whoever harms so much as a hair on the head of an LGBT person or child will have much to answer for on the day when all things are revealed. To deny that they are also made in the image of the creator is the greater blasphemy, and to teach them that their love is any less valid than yours is a the greater sin that will stand against you.

OnlyinAgs2
0
Points
OnlyinAgs2 07/24/10 - 11:14 am
0
0
This scripture should have

This scripture should have come to life to her if she is a true believer:

2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
That way she could have prayed for those in that particular group, and found another group of believers who stand on the word of God like she does.

chasboy
0
Points
chasboy 07/24/10 - 11:15 am
0
0
This girl should never be a

This girl should never be a counselor. I don't care what religion she is. Religion has absolutely no place in a therapy session. It should never even be brought up. She clearly has no idea what it takes to be a successful therapist. There are certain things that must be put aside in order to properly asses a person you are counseling and Miss Keaton apparently can't seem to do this. Unfortunetly what this means is that she should abandon this carreer choice and find something that better suits her beliefs.
She should never be allowed to counsel anyone in the secular world. Every other counselor worth his or her salt would agree with me.

OnlyinAgs2
0
Points
OnlyinAgs2 07/24/10 - 11:23 am
0
0
Why say that about someone,

Why say that about someone, how Godly is that? if she felt that way (if she's a true believer) should have went on a consecration, fasted, prayed and layed before God, petitioning him to save those people and bring them out of darkness into the marvellous light. She should be calling ASU campus up in prayer to God, and asking him use her in a mighty way that will bring light to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How is God edified and glorified by her suing ASU, how can she win people to Christ this way?

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 07/24/10 - 11:22 am
0
0
CoastalDawgSaturday, Jul. 24

CoastalDawgSaturday, Jul. 24 10:54 AM As to majority oppressing minority, that is certainly a possibility but really has no position in this discussion. Certainly blacks deserved and achieved equal status but now the pendulum has swung the opposition direction with many blacks who want more than their share of the pie and continue to blame their lack on slavery, of which they know nothing. Women have gained the right to vote but again, some of them, and my emphasis on both statements is SOME, have gone way beyond that in particular the lovely Nancy Pelosi who believes that she has been crowned queen mother of our country with unlimited power. two well know black men appear at every controversial event to proclaim their versions of truth - but the truth of the matter in this particular lawsuit appears to question whether or not a professor can basically require one to abandon Christian beliefs in order to be admitted and successfully maneuver a program in counseling. End of story. By the way, in a representative democracy one side or the other must prevail and it is generally accepted that the majority will win out - therefore in an election the "winner" must receive 50.1% or more of the votes.
-----------------
Ummmmm....the majority, i.e Christians, are still bribing the government to promote discrimination against homosexuals. How is that any different than the discrimination against blacks and women.

America is a republic not a democracy and while elections may determine a winner with 50.1% of the votes, people's basic rights are not granted nor removed by a simple majority.

There is no documentation in this lawsuit that this woman was asked to abandon her Christian beliefs. READ the lawsuit. It is about this woman's failure to successfully complete the criteria set forth by ASU and the ACA Code of Ethics.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 07/24/10 - 11:25 am
0
0
"She's White ,American and a

"She's White ,American and a Christian so therefore she must be wrong....."
----------------------
That is just pure absurdity. The Constitution is and always has been agnostic. It is now also colorblind despite the attempts of the oppressive majority made up mostly of Christians.

montega12
0
Points
montega12 07/24/10 - 11:29 am
0
0
well since christianity is a

well since christianity is a bad word these days you people should really not accept your paychecks or spend money bc it does have in god we trust.....its a shame when someone is beat down because they actually have morals and stand by their convictions..i guess if she was doing web porn and having sex with men, women, and threesomes she would be considered normal u people make me sick

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 07/24/10 - 11:35 am
0
0
Nobody is beating this woman

Nobody is beating this woman down for her morals. If I morally believe that gravity's force is not 9.81 m/ss then an engineering school won't grant me a degree. If I morally believe black people should not own property then a law school, which requires a real estate law class, isn't going to grant me a law degree. If I morally believe uncle jeebus is a figment of the imagination then a theological school isn't going to grant me a degree.

freeradical
1042
Points
freeradical 07/24/10 - 11:39 am
0
0
ASU's emphasis on the

ASU's emphasis on the counseling of those engaged in the

destructive homosexual lifestyle, is right in line with the emphasis other

medical institiutions place on this destructive behavior.

Other than for medical reasons

the only thing that will get you discriminated againest at a medical blood

donation center is engaging in destructive behaviors, Drugs, promiscuious

sex, homosexual sex, prostitution, etc,etc,etc,,,,,.

These deadly and destructive behaviors, and their associated neurosis,

psychosexual afflictions, making you much more likely to seek

"counseling" than the average person.

In that respect I think the emphasis ASU places on the treatment of

homosexual behavior is well founded, and the young lady, and anyone

else considering a career as a counsler ought to think about just

who is going to make up the bulk of their clients.

InChristLove
22417
Points
InChristLove 07/24/10 - 11:59 am
0
0
CoastalDawg, evidently I

CoastalDawg, evidently I didn't get my point across. I understand that Christ did not come to destroy the laws of Moses but as born again believer's we are not bound by these laws. No longer do we have to offer sacrifices as atonement for breaking these laws but that Jesus Christ gave his life as a sacrifice for all. I hope you are not implying that ir ow when we break these laws then we have to suffer the penalty for these. If so, then what was the purpose of Christ coming and dying on the cross. Was it all in vain?

bls
0
Points
bls 07/24/10 - 11:53 am
0
0
The hands. How innocent. As

The hands. How innocent. As Blanche once said: "Poor Dorothy. Poor, poor delusional Dorothy."

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 07/24/10 - 12:15 pm
0
0
Keeton can't learn if she
Unpublished

Keeton can't learn if she already comes to class thinking she knows more than her instructors.

JusticeForEva
0
Points
JusticeForEva 07/24/10 - 12:23 pm
0
0
Go ahead and flag and delete

Go ahead and flag and delete my post. I know you oversensitive, over religious zealots will because the truth hurts.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/24/10 - 12:26 pm
0
0
She is free to believe

She is free to believe whatever she wants, no one is saying she has to change her belief system, but in her capacity as a clinical counselor she must follow protocal and approved treatment plans.. to do otherwise could do harm to a patient and result in the school being sued. If she wants to preach to her patients then there are any of a number of programs that share her sounseling philosophy.. such as EXODUS. This really is not much different from say someone who enrolls in medical school but yet refuses to follow standard medical diagnosis and treatment on religous grounds and instead wants to use "faith healing." Imagine a cancer patient or a someone experiencing a heart attack... "well I will just pray for that person, because my beliefs don't permit me to act as God."

elcee
0
Points
elcee 07/24/10 - 12:27 pm
0
0
This student had to know what

This student had to know what the requirements were before she entered this graduate program--she had to have talked to someone in the department to be allowed into the program. So, did she lie her way into the program and mislead ASU officials about her suitability? Did she agree to having an open mind (to deal with diverse members of the community) just long enough to be accepted and then figured she would do whatever she wanted to?
I have a son at ASU who doesn't like all the general ed required classes he has to take--maybe if she wins this case, he can sue ASU and not have to take any classes HE doesn't think are necessary. (this is meant as sarcasm--he will take the classes or leave the school; he doesn't get to approve the curriculum or make policy for any school).
Simply put, this girl should move on to someplace where her personal biases, beliefs, phobias, etc. are accepted and possibly encouraged.

Reverie
48
Points
Reverie 07/24/10 - 12:38 pm
0
0
A college panel judging

A college panel judging whether your belief system is correct for admittance, in their eyes, is wrong. Let's try the shoe on. What if your sons and daughters had to pass a belief test before they were admitted into their college programs? None of them would ever be admitted or graduate if they expressed their opinions as freely and as rightly as you do in this column. Higher education should allow you to exchange and debate ideas to learn--not choke you out!

scredsfan
2
Points
scredsfan 07/24/10 - 12:44 pm
0
0
I'd say Ms. Keeton has

I'd say Ms. Keeton has already won. If you think about it, she's gotten exactly what she wanted:
1.) Wide media exposure ("Look Mom and Dad, I got my picture in the paper!")
2.) A riled up religious right.
3.) A nice fat check when she settles, which, when combined with higher education budget cuts, should gut ASU's School Counseling graduate program.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 07/24/10 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Justus4Eva, what is so

Justus4Eva, what is so improbable about Christianity? You made a sweeping generalization, but with no specifics. Jesus was a REAL HISTORICAL PERSON, not some Zeus or Mithra. When you consider Christianity, you have to deal with history not myth.

The ax you're grinding against Christianity needs to be a bit sharper, otherwise we can't respond to your issues.

elcee
0
Points
elcee 07/24/10 - 12:50 pm
0
0
When there are official,

When there are official, nationally recognized uniform standards and codes of conduct in any profession, screening is appropriate to determine who is suitable. That screening usually takes place by testing and through oral interviews. If you already know what the requirements are and you also already know that you can't or won't meet those requirements, why waste everybody's time??

scoopdedoop64
2353
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 12:51 pm
0
0
This whole case is about her

This whole case is about her being told that if she believes that homosexuals are sinners then she is unfit to be a counselor and therefore will not be granted her degree. If this is true and she can prove it then this is discrimination in the highest degree and the hypocrisy of the left wing radical atheist on this tread is so evident that we can barely deal with the facts of the case. And some have wondered if she will have a job when this over...the answer... ABSOLUTELY! Why because there are so many Christian organizations that need qualified counselors with Biblical convictions. This suit had nothing to do with money but with a Christian standing up to the liberal colleges. ASU is a good school but its just like every other liberal college in America.

JM88
15
Points
JM88 07/24/10 - 12:57 pm
0
0
baron, why do you keep

baron, why do you keep calling Christians bigots when you yourself hate Christians?

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 07/24/10 - 01:01 pm
0
0
scredsfan wrote: "A nice fat

scredsfan wrote: "A nice fat check when she settles, which, when combined with higher education budget cuts, should gut ASU's School Counseling graduate program."

If the "educators" at ASU had common sense, they wouldn't be at this point where they'll have to write that "nice fat check."

deMOJO
0
Points
deMOJO 07/24/10 - 01:04 pm
0
0
csrareader - just how many

csrareader - just how many school counselors do you think are assigned to each school? she can't simply "refer" them to another counselor. she will be mandated (if she's ever allowed to become an educator) to keep her personal beliefs out of her professional judgment. if she can't do that then she needs to pursue a different line of work. when she entered ASU she also signed an agreement that she would keep her personal beliefs to herself. she has violated that agreement many times and needs to be put out. she has no place in education.

JusticeForEva
0
Points
JusticeForEva 07/24/10 - 01:10 pm
0
0
Jesus was a person. That

Jesus was a person. That doesn't mean he was truly the son of God. Charles Manson claimed to be God too you know.

scoopdedoop64
2353
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 01:17 pm
0
0
deMOJO, this isn't about the

deMOJO, this isn't about the money .....idiots......I guarantee she would want nothing more than to pay for the lawyer fee and complete her course studies.

scoopdedoop64
2353
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 01:18 pm
0
0
YES JESUS IS MY

YES JESUS IS MY SON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

signed ____________GOD

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs