One can see in the case of Julea Ward versus Eastern Michigan University the way in which progressive academic institutions, professional organizations, and judges can all collaborate in defining educational requirements, professional standards, and the law in a such a fashion as to outlaw non-progressive opinion in the academic world as well as denying access to practice of professions to non-progressives.
A federal judge [on wednesday] dismissed a lawsuit brought against Eastern Michigan University by a master’s student who said she was removed from the school’s counseling program because of her strong religious views against homosexuality.
As part of her course work, Ward had refused to counsel homosexual clients, saying she believed homosexuality was morally wrong.
The university removed Ward from the counseling program after determining her actions violated university policy and the American Counseling Association (ACA) code of ethics.
Julea Ward sued the university in 2009, alleging violation of her First Amendment and religious rights.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh ruled in favor of the university and granted it summary judgment.
“The university had a rational basis for adopting the ACA Code of Ethics into its counseling program, not the least of which was the desire to offer an accredited program,” Steeh said in a 48-page opinion.
“Furthermore, the university had a rational basis for requiring its students to counsel clients without imposing their personal values.
“In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs — including homosexual relationships.”
The judge said Ward’s “refusal to attempt learning to counsel all clients within their own value systems is a failure to complete an academic requirement of the program.”
2005 ACA Code of Ethics (pdf)
Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants.
A similar case is underway involving a student in the counseling program at Augusta State University in Georgia.