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.
David in Houston
0
Points
David in Houston 07/24/10 - 01:22 pm
0
0
If she wants to spew her

If she wants to spew her "chosen" religious beliefs, she should have attended a Christian school. As it is, she comes across as ignorant, and incapable of introspection. There are numerous scientific studies that all point to sexual orientation being determined at birth. It seems rather obvious that's she never once considered that her position could be wrong. Hardly the mindset of a college student.

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:23 pm
0
0
"counselors in training must

"counselors in training must "recognize and accept" individual differences, cultural diversity and alternative points of view."

Open your eyes girl, if you want to have beliefs like you do, there is no place for you in any social service type of job. Go work in a church. Radical views have no place in the school system. I would be horrified if a child of mine had a school counselor like you. How could it hurt to take part in diversity training? As a strong "christian" like you apparently are, there is no way diversity training would actually change or alter your beliefs, it would only make you more accepting of others who are different from yourself. As a counselor you will run into children who are gay. You will run into tons of different religious beliefs and will have to SUPPRESS your own views. Get over it. And like I said before, if you can't, that's what church jobs are for. Anywhere else in America, this would be laughed at. But not in the bible belt.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 07/24/10 - 01:25 pm
0
0
demojo wrote: "just how many

demojo wrote: "just how many school counselors do you think are assigned to each school?"

I assume we're talking about high school age kids and above. There are multiple counselors at local high schools.

"she can't simply "refer" them to another counselor."

Why not?

"when she entered ASU she also signed an agreement that she would keep her personal beliefs to herself."

I believe that freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution. I would be interested in knowing what legal document that ASU has students sign giving up the right to expressing personal beliefs.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 07/24/10 - 01:27 pm
0
0
davidinhouston wrote: "If she

davidinhouston wrote: "If she wants to spew her "chosen" religious beliefs, she should have attended a Christian school."

So let me get this straight... in your mind, it's not acceptable to express religious beliefs in any public university?

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:27 pm
0
0
And I like momster59's post

And I like momster59's post about the other things the Bible tells us to do. VERY GOOD POINT. I hope Keeton reads this.

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:29 pm
0
0
csrareader you can express

csrareader you can express your religious beliefs, but it's not okay to push those beliefs on others. Or to be blinded by your belief like this girl seems to be.

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:30 pm
0
0
David in Houston - right on.

David in Houston - right on.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 07/24/10 - 01:32 pm
0
0
increasethepeace wrote: "it's

increasethepeace wrote: "it's not okay to push those beliefs on others."

But it is OK for the school to push "diversity training" in the form of attending a Gay Pride Parade on the student?

scoopdedoop64
2328
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 01:38 pm
0
0
This girl is sharp, focused

This girl is sharp, focused and ready to tackle what comes before her. The rest of you who have already crucified her are no less different than the Roman soildiers who crucified Jesus. Can you feel the hammer in your hands?

JM88
15
Points
JM88 07/24/10 - 01:39 pm
0
0
"You will run into tons of

"You will run into tons of different religious beliefs and will have to SUPPRESS your own views. Get over it."

increasethepeace, that's fine. I know when I go to class I may hear things that conflict with what I believe. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it and regurgitate back to the professor what you've been taught, even if you might disagree with it. I've done this before, and I've come to accept that that's just the way it is in academia. I'm not going to whine about it or file a lawsuit. BUT, let's stop pretending higher public education in this country is about a free exchange of ideas. Free exchange of liberal ideas, maybe.

homerth0
0
Points
homerth0 07/24/10 - 01:40 pm
0
0
As a homosexual let me be

As a homosexual let me be very clear to all of the people supporting Ms. Keeton. It is NOT A CHOICE.

No credible counselor would push this dangerous and life-threatening hogwash onto their patients. It is impossible to change your sexual orientation. There have been countless men and women who have killed themselves after failing to do so. Many have gotten married hoping they would change. Many of them come of the closet later on, wreaking havoc on their families.

If Ms. Keeton cannot understand modern counseling theory and practices, she needs to find a different occupation.

And by the way, religion is a choice.

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:44 pm
0
0
They recommended she attend

They recommended she attend the parade, if that is even true. And diversity training should definitely be required for any counselor/ psychologist/ social service position.

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:45 pm
0
0
They didn't force her to do

They didn't force her to do anything unethical, or anything that would change her biblical beliefs, just to be more understanding to those who don't share those beliefs.

elcee
0
Points
elcee 07/24/10 - 01:50 pm
0
0
Even if Ms.Keeton is being

Even if Ms.Keeton is being crucified--and she's not--she certainly isn't Jesus and as a Christian, I think the comparison is insulting and disrespectful to MY beliefs. She is just a a spoiled selfish child who wants to high jack an entire university system for her own personal gain.
BTW, everyone who disagrees with her is not an atheist or agnostic or left wing nut case--we just happen to disagree. Nothing more/nothing less.

increasethepeace
0
Points
increasethepeace 07/24/10 - 01:50 pm
0
0
"The rest of you who have

"The rest of you who have already crucified her are no less different than the Roman soildiers who crucified Jesus"

HA! I'm sure you're God would be happy to know you are comparing us to them for having an opinion that is a lot more open minded and compassionate than your own. Real Christian of you. We haven't crucified anyone, just think she should be able to be mature and realize that people will always differ on their personal choices and beliefs, and if she really want's to be a good counselor, she will just have to deal with that.

scoopdedoop64
2328
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 01:51 pm
0
0
homomertho: since you are a

homomertho: since you are a homosexual let me be very clear. You are just as precious to God as any other person and I know he loves you. But I disagree that your homosexuality is not a choice. I am sure it does not feel like a choice to you. I am sure you feel compelled to have no other way. The reason is because when we are under sin we are slaves to sin. Meaning that if you are not a Christian than accepting Jesus into your heart is the first step. It is that very step that makes your sexuality a choice because now you will have his power to help you choose a different lifestyle. It will take time but can be done. Contact the following group if you want help: Exodus International: http://www.exodusinternational.org/

jiclemens
0
Points
jiclemens 07/24/10 - 02:02 pm
0
0
scoop, your comment shows you

scoop, your comment shows you are not qualified to comment any more than the asu student since you only express a religious bias and an ignorant one at that. Your basis for calling it a "lifestyle choice" is based on the fact that your religion chooses to scapegoat gays and lesbians. You have no basis for hating gays other than your religion lends creedence to your personal prejudice. And don't waste our time with that tired old "hate the sin..." bs.

scoopdedoop64
2328
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 02:05 pm
0
0
In what way did I hate gays?

In what way did I hate gays? I offered help while you offer nothing but continued support for their sin.

JM88
15
Points
JM88 07/24/10 - 02:05 pm
0
0
jiclemens, I didn't see any

jiclemens, I didn't see any hate in scoop's comment. I saw a lot of compassion, actually. Your post was much more hostile in tone, fwiw.

scoopdedoop64
2328
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 02:06 pm
0
0
To use your reasoning

To use your reasoning jiclemens: we ought to allow alcoholics to march for full acceptance of their behavior because after all they were born with it. Come on true counseling helps people arise above their addictions not cave into them.

deMOJO
0
Points
deMOJO 07/24/10 - 02:07 pm
0
0
csrareader - assuming is your

csrareader - assuming is your biggest problem.

freeradical
1030
Points
freeradical 07/24/10 - 02:08 pm
0
0
As for deeming the homosexual

As for deeming the homosexual lifestyle both psychologically and

medically destructive no bible is needed.

It is science that allows all blood donation centers to strongly

discriminate againest drug users, prostitiutes, their patrons,

homosexuals, those engaged in promiscious sex, etc,etc,etc.

Science has proven these lifestyle choices destructive and anyone

engaging in such lifestyles is statistically much more likely to seek

"counseling".

In that respect ASU's excessive attention to the

treatment of homosexuals in their program is quite scientifically justified.

Their associated neurosis, and psychosexual hangups providing plenty

of job security for any "counselor".

What has really got their skivvies in such a bunch is the fact that the

science and the scripture mirror each other perfectly concerning the

consequences of these destructive lifestyle choices,and the girl is not

shy or intimidated about it.

Who she will , or will not provide a future imaginary service too at a yet

future imaginary location is nobody's business except the one providing

the future imaginary paychecks.

The ASU's desired pinch of incense from her notwithstanding.

JM88
15
Points
JM88 07/24/10 - 02:09 pm
0
0
"ahhh...bible thumpers. take

"ahhh...bible thumpers. take all of your holier-than-thou beliefs and stick'em. this is not about God, this is about a nut who wants attention. who is she to judge anyone? the bible was written by man and nothing more than a mans interpretation of events that may or may not have taken place. there are many copies of it and many interpretations. you people are a bunch of narrow minded fools. get over yourselves already. bunch of Hippocrates!"

You watch Family Guy. Point invalidated.

chasboy
0
Points
chasboy 07/24/10 - 02:14 pm
0
0
How many of you think that if

How many of you think that if a gay person accepts Jesus into their heart then they would be transformed into a hetrosexual?
lol

scoopdedoop64
2328
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 02:15 pm
0
0
JM88, that's funny. LOL

JM88, that's funny. LOL We know we are labled as fools and worship what the world might call the King of fools but to us He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is Jesus! And one day all the ones who called us fools will see their wisdom fade away as the morning dew and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

scoopdedoop64
2328
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/24/10 - 02:16 pm
0
0
Chaseboy, I think that if

Chaseboy, I think that if they accept Jesus that a process will begin in them and they will work toward abstaining from homosexual behavior. I have seen it happen.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 07/24/10 - 02:33 pm
0
0
To homertho - you are

To homertho - you are absolutely correct. Religion is a choice, but science is not definitive on your statement that homosexuality is not a choice.

To demojo: The only thing I assumed is that the vast majority of students who want counseling, and happen to be homosexual, are high school age and above. Are there statistics that contradict that assumption?

To elcee: The student is not trying to hijack the university, the university is trying to hijack the student's religion and beliefs. I agree with your last statement -- we just disagree. The student just disagrees with the requirement to attend gay diversity training and the gay pride parade. Why should this prevent her from receiving the right to an education?

alycias
0
Points
alycias 07/24/10 - 02:38 pm
0
0
How can ASU say they don't

How can ASU say they don't discriminate against people based on their religion, what the hey do they think they are doing? Even if they didn't write the code, they are behind it, obviously , if they are not allowing Keeton to enter the program unless she agrees to that code. ASU may be "allowing" Christian prayers and Bible studies on campus now ( they didn't used to when I attended in the early 1990's), that does not mean they are in agreement with the Christians, and they are probably only "allowing" it cause they don't want more lawsuits! If I was Keeton I would sue too! AND I am appalled at the fact that they would MAKE her attend a gay pride parade. Thats unbelievable!!! and inexcusable!!! ASU needs to be PICKETED!!!!

InChristLove
22412
Points
InChristLove 07/24/10 - 02:42 pm
0
0
The validity of the Bible and

The validity of the Bible and of Jesus being the son of God is not what this article is about but I must at least speak up on some of the comments on here. For those claiming the Bible is not the inspired Word of God I challenge you to do some research. The contents of Scripture can be verified by the facts of history and the discoveries of modern science and archaeology. The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies that have come true and are coming alive today. Prophecies foretold with accuracy about specific details about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, centuries before he was even born. Prophecies about prominent cities, kings, and kingdoms. It is sad that even in today the doubt and skepticism persist, even though ongoing archaeological discoveries continue to validate the Bible's historical accuracy.

It is your choice whether you believe or not but to spew hateful, derogatory comments about God and the Bible is uncalled for and unnecessary. Especially when the topic is not about God and the Bible, it is about a citizen who happens to be a Christian white woman, who feels she has been discriminated against by her school. Both sides of the story have not been heard completely so no one really knows who is right and who is wrong.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 07/24/10 - 02:49 pm
0
0
Right you are, Justice4Eva!

Right you are, Justice4Eva! That's exactly the point. Christ claimed to be God. Anyone can claim to be God, even a psychopathic murder like Charles Manson (some "god" he'd make).

Maybe Christ was lying about being God? If so, that makes Jesus no better than the devil of hell himself. Is that what you're saying -- that one who taught such amazing, wonderful things was actually just lying about it all? If so, then what benefit did he receive from all those delusions of grandeur? He got no monetary benefit. He never received power. He actually got killed for what he taught. Hmmmmmm......

Of course, the record indicates that Jesus taught truth and demanded that his followers observe the teach the truth as well. Is it logical that after Christ was murdered, that his followers then promoted the "lie" that he performed miracles and rose from the dead? If so, then they were contradicting everything Jesus taught them. Worse, most of them suffered horrible murder defending some concocted lie -- highly unlikely; people don't die for a lie -- but they will give their lives for what they know to be an absolute truth.

I submit that it is very unlikely that Jesus was a liar, or that his early followers were liars. If that be the case, then, as you say, what about Jesus' claim to be God incarnate? If you can't build a substantive case that Jesus was a liar, then is that a true statement after all?

Back to Top

Top headlines

Vogtle workforce hits 4,200

About 4,200 workers are employed at the Plant Vogtle expansion project where the first two reactors built in the U.S. in more than three decades are rising from the red clay.
Loading...