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Judge puts off decision in bias case

ASU challenge awaits next step

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A U.S. District Court judge said Wednesday he needed more time to determine whether Augusta State University professors violated a student's free speech by imposing a remediation plan after she expressed concerns with counseling homosexuals.

Jennifer Keeton: Student claims ASU's remediation policy makes her violate her religious principles.   Special
Special
Jennifer Keeton: Student claims ASU's remediation policy makes her violate her religious principles.

Judge J. Randal Hall said he normally takes less than 10 minutes to decide whether to pass such a hearing on in the courts, but "this case is so significant that I feel a more thoughtful response from the court is needed."

Jennifer Keeton, who did not appear in court Wednesday, is facing dismissal from ASU's K-12 school counseling program if she does not adhere to the terms of a remediation plan.

She is scheduled to begin a practicum on Monday where she will work in a local middle school, but ASU officials said they won't allow her to participate if she doesn't meet the remediation requirements.

School officials required Keeton to complete the remediation plan after she said inside and outside class that it would be hard for her to work with homosexuals and that she would tell them their behavior is morally wrong.

During five hours of testimony, Keeton's lawyers said the plan violates her First Amendment rights by asking her not to tell clients homosexual behavior is "immoral."

"(Keeton) understands the professional obligation to avoid imposing values," attorney Jeffrey A. Shafer said. "But it's an entire other thing all together for the faculty to require her to validate what she thinks is immoral."

ASU attorneys said the school's remediation plan is not a punishment, but a tool to help Keeton learn how not to impose her beliefs on others, while still maintaining them.

They compared it to a similar plan professors gave a student who had trouble working with black clients. Professors are asking Keeton to read homosexual counseling material, attend workshops and get to know the homosexual community.

"She has a right to her beliefs, but this calls into question her ability to separate those if she were to work with a gay and lesbian client," said Dr. Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an ASU professor cited in Keeton's lawsuit against the school.

Anderson-Wiley said in order to graduate from the ASU counseling program, students must adhere to a viewpoint-neutral code of ethics. This includes not telling a client their homosexual behavior is right or wrong.

ASU's attorneys argue Keeton is asking for an exemption from the curriculum by asking to not have to keep a neutral viewpoint while counseling homosexual clients.

"She cannot refuse to learn how to counsel these clients, and that's what she's trying to do," said ASU attorney Cristina Maria Correia.

School officials said granting an exemption to Keeton could cause the school to lose accreditation with the American Counseling Association.

Keeton's attorneys said she believes having to adhere to the school's counseling requirements will cause her irreparable damage.

"Jennifer Keeton believes she has an obligation to God to not participate in other peoples' sin," Shafer said.

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concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 08/11/10 - 01:13 pm
0
0
Someone let Ms Keeton know

Someone let Ms Keeton know that she can now go on Hannity and have her 5 minutes so we can move on.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 08/11/10 - 01:17 pm
0
0
At least this sure-fire loser

At least this sure-fire loser of a lawsuit will drain some of the money from the oppressive ADF's coffers.

cleanup
0
Points
cleanup 08/11/10 - 01:50 pm
0
0
Is she pre-op?

Is she pre-op?

mrrhodes89
0
Points
mrrhodes89 08/11/10 - 02:04 pm
0
0
The First Amendment only

The First Amendment only matters when somebody says or writes something about somebody else that they don't like. The First Amendment doesn't mean a thing these days.

Little Lamb
47048
Points
Little Lamb 08/11/10 - 02:08 pm
0
0
To cleanup: I think she is

To cleanup: I think she is pre-nup.

GAterp
2
Points
GAterp 08/11/10 - 02:10 pm
0
0
Once again, the lawyers get

Once again, the lawyers get paid and nobody wins.

Local Interests
40
Points
Local Interests 08/11/10 - 02:16 pm
0
0
She obviously is not going to

She obviously is not going to be all that welcome at ASU. There are plenty of radical wing-nut private schools that would trip over themselves to have her as a student (likely offering scholarships).
That she doesn't simply transfer is one of the ways we know know this is just a set up by ADF to grab some headlines at taxpayers expense.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 08/11/10 - 02:39 pm
0
0
This will be interesting.

This will be interesting. Focusing on the term REMEDIATION plan, one has to consider the label that was placed on this and how the student was apparently singled out. If she was, that's a little beyond the ability to convince me that they aren't re-programming her belief system. Depending on the field of practice she chooses should determine how she is or is not accepted in the profession, not the training to get there.

I will be curious to see how this pans out for everyone involved.

indigo-

scoopdedoop64
2430
Points
scoopdedoop64 08/11/10 - 02:45 pm
0
0
Never seen so much bias

Never seen so much bias bashing of a Christian in a long time. And Austin, how do you know about dog squeezes? Neither of us were there to hear what she was or was not told.

widowjones
0
Points
widowjones 08/11/10 - 02:49 pm
0
0
You know,most of today's ASU

You know,most of today's ASU students could file protest that their first amendment rights are being violated, because discussion of certain hot-button topics is not allowed in student gatherings or classrooms. Sometimes it is an unwritten rule; other times, the professor states this point early in classroom activities. Politics and religion are the prime topics to avoid.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/11/10 - 03:07 pm
0
0
ASU is stating that this is a

ASU is stating that this is a secular only school and no other perspective gets respect, except for those not Christian. Seems simple to me. A government school should have some kind of notification stating this. It would stop Christians from wasting their time there.

Now what? Will Keeton loose credit for her time spent in the counseling program? Will she just loose credit for her final year? Will she be penalized for being honest or just for her Christian beliefs?

Pastor Dan White
1
Points
Pastor Dan White 08/11/10 - 03:06 pm
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Here's one for you. Judge

Here's one for you. Judge Hall is a dedicated and committed Christian and member of a local Augusta church. Do you think he can judge impartially?

A lot of right wingers claimed the judge in California who ruled in favor of homosexual marriage was biased in the case because he is a homosexual.

I'm you Indigo - it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/11/10 - 03:10 pm
0
0
Pastor Dan, the homosexual

Pastor Dan, the homosexual judge decided to change the law in his "impartial" opinion. Will you be satisfied if Judge Hall does the same thing?

momster59
0
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momster59 08/11/10 - 03:10 pm
0
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I was just thinking the same

I was just thinking the same thing, Pastor Dan. I believe Judge Hall can set aside his personal beliefs even though he is a Christian. I wonder how many of those howling about the "bias" of the judge in CA will howl about the "bias" of this Christian judge if he rules in ASU's favor or his "lack of bias" if he rules in Keeton's?

faithson
5265
Points
faithson 08/11/10 - 03:18 pm
0
0
What she was told is at the

What she was told is at the crux of the problem... Just how did she get in touch with this group of lawyers who represent her ? Every bit of this incident is being supported and influenced by 'religious' zealots, good people that are holding on to an idea who's time is passed. The 'titanic' is sinking and there is nothing all these zealots can do to keep it afloat, the GLBT community is here to stay, lets move on....

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 08/11/10 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Well, we put a NON-judge on

Well, we put a NON-judge on the supreme court this week so what difference does what he believes make :)

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 08/11/10 - 03:26 pm
0
0
faithson.....is the ACLU a

faithson.....is the ACLU a zealots group? They do the same sort of "work" for those THEY see as having their rights violated. This isn't about christian / non christian, its about government control.......at least from the students perspective. Christianity's time has not passed.......don't be fooled.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 08/11/10 - 03:44 pm
0
0
This judge is going to rule

This judge is going to rule according to his interpretation of the law. He will explain it in his ruling. More than likely, Keeton will appeal if she loses. Personally, I think Ms. Keeton should have gone to a school that has counseling programs from a Christian perspective. Upon completion of the degree programs, students from these schools are prepared to take the same state licensure exams as students from any other school.

3g
0
Points
3g 08/11/10 - 03:55 pm
0
0
" beliefs from OUR ( ? ) role

" beliefs from OUR ( ? ) role as a counselor , ... "
AC - Are you all hiring proofreaders ? I don't have a degree , but I sure as hell don't write as sloppily as your staff does .

faithson
5265
Points
faithson 08/11/10 - 03:56 pm
0
0
good point indigo, what's

good point indigo, what's good for the goose is good for the gander... don't know about the government control thing though.. seems its the die in the wool Christians who don't want to allow full 'rights' to a specific group they 'believe' are evil, sure don't want the government getting involved therr... as concerns ms. keaton, it is not her belief's that are in question, it is her 'neutrality'... Christianity time has not passed, but many a tradition from its beginnings are evolving, and for the good as I see it.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/11/10 - 04:07 pm
0
0
Where did Jennifer Keeton say

Where did Jennifer Keeton say she "would not help them"? She apparently wrote "it would be hard to work with this population".

If she were not a confessed Christian, would she really be going through such intense scrutiny and bashing?

Had ASU handled things differently would there have been a lawsuit?

Did ASU offer Ms. Keeton counseling to help her with her struggle of wanting to be both honest and helpful?

Was there any other person for Ms. Keeton to go to at ASU to get some understanding of herself and the dilema she was facing?

How did the "Remediation Plan" of forcing her to attend the Gay Parade and write papers lying about changing her values, help Keeton or those she would come into contact with in the counseling profession?

Shouldn't help really be helpful?

What I am hearing said, is keep your mouth shut or atleast when you do open it, lie, lie, lie. And don't ever, buck a bureaucrat, unless you want a lot of trouble.

No one here knows anything about what actually took place. As Americans, when we feel something is not right, we have the priviledge of speaking up and seeking a higher decision. That's all I see her doing.

Let the girl have her day in court. Let the judge rule. And let us all learn from it.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/11/10 - 04:08 pm
0
0
I am frankly sick of hearing

I am frankly sick of hearing about this woman. Her lawsuit stands about as much chance of surviving in the courts as a twinky at a Lane Bryant store. This is all about the publicity and becoming some folk hero to certain elements of the religous right.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/11/10 - 04:14 pm
0
0
You are certainly entitled to

You are certainly entitled to your opinion as Ms. Keeton is to hers. And I am sure that you know her motivation.... When I am sick of something, I usually get away from it.

secretagentman
2
Points
secretagentman 08/11/10 - 04:58 pm
0
0
I do not think she was

I do not think she was singled out for this one comment in one paper.. I think she made it clear she cant adhere to the ethics of the program she wants a degree from...(The other articles made it sound if there had been numerous occasions when she expressed her religious convictions and how she felt about the GLBT population..) and I do not think they have to give her a degree. Yes, I think if she wanted her degree from ASU then she should just shut up and fake it until she gets her degree. However, I wouldnt want a degree from a school I so strongly disagreed with. I am pretty sure she could transfer to another school and finish up her degree there. Liberty University, or Bob Jones University-- all of them would welcome her with open arms and probably give her a scholarship to boot.It is called "playing the game" and it is a part of real life, unfortunately. Then, if she wanted to be a counselor in the public school system, and she tried to use her personal religious beliefs in her counseling... she would probably lose her job. I cant really understand wanting to be a counselor and then openly saying there are groups you think you couldnt work with or dont want to work with. Many probably feel that way, but know enough to not say it. And usually life will teach you to not be quite so judgmental.....

Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 08/11/10 - 05:05 pm
0
0
I am available for private

I am available for private tutoring at her place or mine if the Judge rules she cannot go back to ASU.

LBenedict
2
Points
LBenedict 08/11/10 - 05:13 pm
0
0
scoop - I think that Austin

scoop - I think that Austin posted something weeks ago, and AR, correct me if I err, in which he stated that he read a complaint or some such thing, and concluded that when the case is heard it will be laughed out of court soon thereafter. Regarding the student...ahem...if you are going to enter a collegiate counseling program, doesn't it stand to reason that there may come a time when one must hypothesize that s/he may be in a position that requires him/her to counsel a homosexual, a hippie, a bigot...? From what I have read, no one is telling this _______ to change her religious beliefs or her views on homosexuality. What would happen if she got to pick and choose what she wants to discuss and whom she wants to counsel, meets the graduation requirements, graduates, gets licensed, and is put in a situation that requires her to counsel a homosexual or atheist, but she freezes, leaves the area, gives the person in need a referral, whatever, and that person becomes more upset or in need of professional help, gets frustrated that "no one understands me - no one wants to help me", and then does something radical? From what I have read of this case, it seems as though Keeton is in need of some major counseling!

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/11/10 - 05:18 pm
0
0
Secret,Yes, and unless you

Secret,Yes, and unless you are an involved party, in the situation, it is all supposition. The point being, if she feels wronged, let her pursue any course of action legally available to her.

She is being accused of judging...but who is judging her? That's the trouble with judgment, it's like meaness, it just goes around and around. I learned that in kindergarten, but sometimes I still forget.

I think you are right, she will have to leave; and there are plenty of good schools that will want her. She will be fine whatever happens; she can't really lose.

Lesson learned for all parents as they are looking at colleges for their children. Check your values, see how they match the schools, BEFORE you get out your checkbook!

And you are correct, life does teach us, but it usually takes a lifetime.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 08/11/10 - 05:48 pm
0
0
She is being judged by those
Unpublished

She is being judged by those who have the credentials to judge her performance and success, or not, in a professional program. She agreed to be judged by those standards when she applied to the program.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/11/10 - 07:43 pm
0
0
Oh, for the love of the

Oh, for the love of the ignore button, though you are improving.

I was speaking of the posters.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 08/11/10 - 07:49 pm
0
0
I'm improving because I'm
Unpublished

I'm improving because I'm avoiding any nasty confrontations with you because you .....well, like I said, I'm avoiding them.

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