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Julea Ward

Julea Ward

When Julea Ward walked into the room of professors from the counseling department, she hoped to find more tolerance than she’d received from her counseling supervisor at Eastern Michigan University. She was wrong.

Her counseling supervisor had already conducted an informal review of Julea, and now she had to endure another interrogation of her Christian faith from a review board of other faculty. Her offense? She referred a potential client who wanted advice on his same-sex relationship to another fellow counselor. Although she was willing to work with all clients, she could not affirm a relationship that was contrary to her faith. 


Unanimously, the school review board decided to expel her from the counseling program. Julea appealed, but her dismissal was upheld. Julea then contacted Alliance Defending Freedom, who helped her take legal action against the school.

This time, the court ruled in Julea’s favor, stating “Ward was willing to work with all clients and to respect the school’s affirmation directives in doing so. That is why she asked to refer gay and lesbian clients (and some heterosexual clients) if the conversation required her to affirm their sexual practices. What more could the [non-discrimination] rule require? Surely, for example, the ban on discrimination against clients based on their religion does not require a Muslim counselor to tell a Jewish client that his religious beliefs are correct if the conversation takes a turn in that direction and does not require an atheist counselor to tell a person of faith that there is a God if the client is wrestling with faith-based issues. Tolerance is a two-way street.”

Eastern Michigan University paid a settlement to Julea and removed the expulsion from her record.

Find out more about students' rights at universities.

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