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Nebraska: University withdraws lesbian student for ‘immoral homosexual acts’

Nebraska: University withdraws lesbian student for ‘immoral homosexual acts’

by Aaron Day, 13 June 2013, 12:22pm

A student in Nebraska has been kicked out of her degree for being gay. Now the university, withholding credits, is refusing to allow the student a transfer unless she pays the school a several thousand dollar fine.

Danielle Powell, who was approaching the end of her bachelor’s degree, is now being told she cannot transfer to another school until she agrees to pay a debt of $6,300 (£4,023).

Grace, a religious university, initially suspended the student back in March 2011 for “immoral behaviour”, under which “homosexual acts” were implicated alongside “premarital sex” and “adultery”. This move revoked Powell’s academic scholarship leaving her in debt of just over $6,000 (£3,831).

The school, however, promised to reintegrate Powell on the condition that she attend a restoration programme. The programme, which included both counselling and regular church attendance, placed the student off-campus, in a position where she could no longer use the overnight dorms.

Powell was kicked out in 2012 after refusing to continue working under the imposed restrictions, and the university banned her permanently after it was discovered she was still dating women.

By October, Powell was already looking into attending another college, but was then informed by the university that she could only transfer her three and a half year credits on the condition that she pay the $6,300 tuition fee in full. The university denies they had withheld her transcripts, but Powell states she’s only been offered a student copy she cannot use to transfer.

With no options and no money left, Powell with her wife Michelle Rogers have started an online petition to persuade the university into forgiving the outstanding debt.

The petition, launched over the weekend, now has more than 12,000 signatures.

by Anonymousreply 5706/14/2013

Why the fuck was she attending "a religious university" in the first place? It just takes a quick look at their website to realize they're religious nuts.

I have no sympathy for the "university" but they are entitled to their money. I also have no sympathy for someone as dumb as Powell.

by Anonymousreply 106/13/2013

I agree with R1. Why go to a fundie college and then bitch because they are all fundies.

We have to be smarter than those we oppose.

by Anonymousreply 206/13/2013

If I read that right, she's being forced to pay for scholarships she earned and used. How is that fair?

by Anonymousreply 306/13/2013

It is a Christian university that believes in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. What did she expect?

by Anonymousreply 406/13/2013

Maybe she didn't realize she is gay when she accepted the scholarship. It happens.

by Anonymousreply 506/13/2013

Just to be clear, R4, there are plenty of Christians and Christian institutions that do not interpret the bible as condemning homosexuality anymore than they condem people for eating shrimp or women from speaking in church.

by Anonymousreply 606/13/2013

r6, but they are the minority of Christians, relative to the global masses of devout Christians. Moreover, she was on notice about the theology and doctrine of this particular university. It is not like she mistakenly thought this was a liberal Christian university.

by Anonymousreply 706/13/2013

R7: What is your point?

by Anonymousreply 806/13/2013

What R5, she easily could have not realized she was gay or her parents forced him to go.

by Anonymousreply 906/13/2013

It is absolutely wrong that the school gives her a scholarship then takes it away and expects her to pay. She earned the grades while attending on a scholarship, those grades were paid for. They have no right to withhold her transcripts. That being said, unless she figured out she was gay while in college, it is hard for me to have a real lot of sympathy for her. As soon as the school voided her scholarship she should have transferred to another school, hell, even a community college if need be.

by Anonymousreply 1106/13/2013

Fuck them. I'm pretty sure she knew she was gay all along and they are still being unreasonable and punitive based on someone's sexual orientation.

That is unacceptable. It is unacceptable in academia, it is unacceptable in every situation.

by Anonymousreply 1206/13/2013

The year is 2013.

by Anonymousreply 1306/13/2013

I don't even know why a Christian would want to go to a religious university. Honestly, what has your 'spiritual life' got to do with your academic achievements?

Many academics sneer at qualifications from these places for a good reason.

by Anonymousreply 1406/13/2013

I taught at a state college in Nebraska a quarter of a century ago--it might just as well have been a fundamentalist school in terms of attitudes of most of the faculty (the students were perfectly nice kids in general) and residents of the town. While things have changed (a friend who stayed there told me the college now has an LGBT organization) in some ways, I'm sure there are still large pockets of homophobia in the state. As to why the student chose the school--could be a number of reasons: I've known people given a choice by their families of a fundamentalist college or none at all. It may also be the one school she could afford. They have the right to continue to be bigoted, I guess, and she needs to go elsewhere, but it hardly seems Christian of them to ask for their money back. And it's not worth it to go there if she has to participate in reparative therapy. Better to get a job at the Golden Corral and pay for community college--and the education will probably be a lot better. Most fundie colleges are academically bankrupt, in addition to everything else.

by Anonymousreply 1506/13/2013

Religious freaks are the problem.

by Anonymousreply 1606/13/2013

[quote]suspended the student back in March 2011 for “immoral behaviour”, under which “homosexual acts” were implicated alongside “premarital sex” and “adultery”.

I hope the college has been imposing the same penalties on any students who aren't virgins at graduation. You can't pick and choose.

She needs a good attorney, and she needs one now.

by Anonymousreply 1706/13/2013

It's a tiny, tiny evangelical university. A total of 450 students (including both graduate and undergraduate) -- smaller than most small-town high schools.

by Anonymousreply 1806/13/2013

Here is the piece that bugs me - from the Huff Post: "James said anyone who withdraws before the semester is 60 percent complete will usually owe a balance, because federal law obligates Grace to return Title IV funds -- federal grants, loans and work-study funds -- on behalf of the withdrawn student. "Suspension or expulsion constitutes withdrawal," James said in an email."

The school is getting federal funds. If LGBTs had Federal civil rights protection the school couldn't get away with this kind of discrimination.

by Anonymousreply 1906/13/2013

[quote]It is a Christian university that believes in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. What did she expect?

So many interpretations of the Bible though.

by Anonymousreply 2006/13/2013

[quote] So many interpretations of the Bible though.

Yes, but someone who believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God doesn't believe there is any interpretation involved. Everything in the Bible is to be taken at face value as literal fact and cannot be questioned or debated.

by Anonymousreply 2106/13/2013

[quote]If LGBTs had Federal civil rights protection the school couldn't get away with this kind of discrimination.

Yet there are people who think that the only right we're seeking is marriage equality.

by Anonymousreply 2206/13/2013

How do you get "kicked out of a degree"?

Is our children learning?

by Anonymousreply 2306/13/2013

r20 yes, there are many interpretations, and I'm sure she knew which interpretation this school followed when she applied and enrolled.

by Anonymousreply 2406/13/2013

The technical description in the common parlance for such people is thick as fuck, R21.

by Anonymousreply 2506/13/2013

The technical description in the common parlance for such people is Republican.

by Anonymousreply 2606/13/2013

R24, perhaps it was the "thou shalt not educate lesbians" interpretation.

by Anonymousreply 2706/13/2013

The kicker is, even if the school did release her transcripts and another school accepted her, chances are the new school would not accept all the credits and she would have to take many classes over again. Colleges and universities are famous for doing that when you transfer in. And besides, who would accept credits from a school that teaches the moon creates its own light?

by Anonymousreply 2806/13/2013

I feel only slightly bad for this young lady. I hope she wakes the fuck up and sees the real danger in all religious institutions. I hope she pays the fine. Hey, they made a deal, and she should honor it!

by Anonymousreply 2906/13/2013

R19...here's the thing. That is how the Pell grant works for everyone.

The Pell is nor bestowed...it is "earned." I learned this last semester when I tried to drop a class after the grace period. If a student drops a class before completion, the government withdraws the money for that student from the school (prorating it for the time they actually attended the course). The school then charges the student for the amount. Because she was expelled, she didn't complete her classes. So the government withdrew the Pell money for her from the school...the school then turned around and charged her for the classes. It sounds convoluted but this is how the Pell works for all students.

I don't understand why she continued her studies there after realizing she was gay. but i do sympathize that she didn't know how the Pell worked because it's never really explained to students. It's called a grant, but that money really goes to the school, and if the student leave then the school has the right to charge the student.

Who the fuck goes to an evangelical school anyway? She must have been an evil right wing fuck when she was closeted.

by Anonymousreply 3006/13/2013

I grew up in a very conservative evangelical religious college, and even we thought Grace (which was called Grace Bible Institute at the time) was over-the-top. It's where the really straight-laced fundies went, unless you were a total loon and went to Bob Jones.

by Anonymousreply 3106/13/2013

She had to have been a right wing loon. In that environment there must have been constant homophobic remarks. She probably participated in that. So my sympathy is not that great. I'm glad she realized she was gay, but she had to have known this would not go over well in that school, particularly given that she'd been going there for a while.

by Anonymousreply 3206/13/2013

[quote]Why the fuck was she attending "a religious university" in the first place?

She had a scholarship. She probably didn't have a scholarship to another university. She was just being thrifty.

by Anonymousreply 3306/13/2013

"Christian Character Candidates for admission must give evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To assure some degree of spiritual maturity, normally the University expects that candidates have consistently walked with Christ for at least one year. The lifestyle and relationships of each candidate should reflect this commitment to Christ and reflect a commitment to obeying the mandates and directives found in Scripture. Candidates for admission must adhere to biblical moral standards, must be committed to God‘s will as revealed in Scripture and must, in general, give evidence of commendable Christian character. Applicants sign a statement affirming their willingness to abide by the University‘s lifestyle expectations."

There is also a handbook for the strict dress code and dating regulations.

by Anonymousreply 3506/13/2013

R33- bullshit. She was playing ball with that bunch of nazis. She was one of them.

by Anonymousreply 3606/13/2013

Are there still Bible colleges that require chaperones on all dates and parental permission before going out with someone that is not 100% the same ethnicity? (Good luck to multi-racial individuals.

by Anonymousreply 3706/13/2013

Religion - and all its bizarre superstitions, fairy tales, voodoo & hatreds - is the worst thing that man has ever invented.

by Anonymousreply 3806/13/2013

If they're this strict with heterosexual couples . . .

"Display of Affection Physical contact intended to increase sexual gratification is to be avoided. Students should be discreet regarding physical contact both in private and in public. The following physical contact is prohibited in public for all students: • placing one’s hand on another’s leg • placing one’s head on another’s chest • extended holding or embracing one another • lying next to one another • sitting on or lying across another’s lap • kissing • giving back rubs/rubbing shoulders While traveling to or from or while representing the University at off-campus locations, there shall be no display of exclusiveness or show of affection between two students.

Sexual Misconduct Outside of heterosexual marriage, interpersonal sexual activity in all of its forms is sin . ."

by Anonymousreply 3906/13/2013

How can a place this insane be allowed to give out degrees?

by Anonymousreply 4006/13/2013

R40, If you are a student and you suddenly "pull a muscle" and can't walk, are you going to be in trouble if someone carries you, or worse, tries to help you by rubbing your leg or arm muscle?

If you are a student and suddenly get a text or call that a loved one has died, are you going to be in trouble if someone gives you a comforting hug?

by Anonymousreply 4106/13/2013

R41...?? What ARE you talking about?

by Anonymousreply 4206/14/2013

The Huffington Post storyabout a lesbian student's fight with a Christian university—complete with headlines that focus on her expulsion and resulting tuition bill—may get reader clicks, but it doesn't tell the whole truth. Grace University in Omaha, Neb., expelled former student Danielle Powell last spring after a yearlong restoration period. The school discovered Powell’s same-sex relationship in early 2011 and began the same probation process that all students face if they break the student code, which covers academics and behavior.

“Any sexual activity outside of marriage is prohibited,” Michael James, the school’s executive vice president, told WORLD.

James said that all students understand the policy, since all students receive the handbook and sign a statement saying they agree to live by the guidelines. If students break those rules, they face probation and possibly a “judiciary hearing” made up of faculty and students who discuss the case.

“This situation has been handled no differently than any other violation of our code of conduct,” James said. “It’s a situation where the rules were very clear, the consequences were very clear, and everything has played out as the policy said it should. There are no surprises here.”

Powell had finished less than 60 percent of the semester when probation began. According to Title IV government requirements, when a student withdraws before that mark, the school must return government scholarship money. For Powell, that means she has an outstanding $6,300 to pay for spring 2011. James said the school doesn’t use collection agencies—it sends a letter every six months asking the student to pay: “There are no other repercussions for the student.”

According to The Huffington Post, the school asked Powell “why she did what she did and whether she was remorseful.” The article added that “Powell said that the university told her she could participate in a restoration program, involving counseling and regular church attendance, to get readmitted.”

She began that process in the summer of 2011, but shortly before the start of the spring 2012 semester, Grace expelled her because she was still dating women.

“Our goal is to restore all our students to the body of Christ,” James said. “Fundamental to that restoration is recognition and repentance of sin. If they don’t acknowledge that, we can’t restore them to our community.”

In the year since Grace expelled Powell, she has married Michelle Rogers and wants to finish her degree. The Huffington Post reported that the school refused transcripts until she paid, but James denies those allegations: “The letter that they referred to in [the article] clearly stated that we were clearly willing to provide transcripts and help the student transfer to another university.”

Rogers has started a petition on Change.org asking Grace University to forgive Powell’s debt. It has garnered more than 17,000 signatures, with the number quickly rising.

James expressed no animosity toward Powell: “We are not telling anybody else how to live their life.” But he also remained firm: “This is an important policy of ours and it’s not going to change.”

by Anonymousreply 4306/14/2013

I am in agreement with those who have stated that her choosing to attend Grace was in fact a confirmation of her complicity with their bizarre regulations and standards. As someone else posted, the lunatic asylum of all bible colleges, Bob Jones University, is not in the least secretive as to their expectations/requirements for admission and attendance. Therefore, if one were to matriculate, due to insanity, and then stroll through the quad hand in hand with a student of another race, the private school would similarly boot the young academic racial rabble rouser. It is important to acknowledge that there is a difference between a religious school and a bible college. I went to Methodist/Quaker founded Duke University whose motto is Eruditio et Religio. Let me make this crystal clear: if a student were to stand up during a service at the vaunted gothic Duke Chapel and scream "Satan is Everything!" while sacrificing a live chicken, the worst that would happen is they would be invited to speak at a "Religious Concepts in the 21st Century" class. Attending a religious school does not signify fundie-ness.

by Anonymousreply 4406/14/2013

This is a Christian university that believes in the Bible and traditional, historic Christian teachings. She knew that before she consented to attend the school. If she lost her Christian faith, that is on her, and she should not blame them for enforcing their faith and teachings.

by Anonymousreply 4506/14/2013

R42, I'm also R39, and I posted the Universities' puritan rules restricting "public displays of affection." While they're aimed at heterosexual couples, I presume they also apply to same-sex platonic friendship. I then gave 2 instances questioning if students would be in trouble if they offered physical comfort in times of extreme emotional pain or injury.

My point is that if the University is this restrictive and backwards towards widely accepted practices, wouldn't someone who is lesbian be fearful of any hint of a same-sex flirtation? How could anyone who is not very sexually repressed attend this Bible college?

by Anonymousreply 4606/14/2013

Please spare me. It's bullshit to feel any sympathy for her. And I'm offended that thinks is being played as a gay rights issue. She wasn't afraid, she knew upfront what the school was and she voluntarily chose to go there. Sexual repression has nothing to do with it. Once she realized she was gay she could have transferred to another school. But she stayed because she's every bit as fascist as they are. I have NO sympathy for gay freepers.

by Anonymousreply 4706/14/2013

[quote]Christian Character Candidates for admission must give evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Median age > 2000 years.

by Anonymousreply 4806/14/2013

[qute]Once she realized she was gay she could have transferred to another school. But she stayed because she's every bit as fascist as they are. I have NO sympathy for gay freepers.

Or maybe there were financial reasons for selecting that particular school.

Damn, you have some anger issues, r47. Perhaps you are the freeper?

by Anonymousreply 4906/14/2013

This is a non-issue. She chose to go to a "religious school". That's like a Jewish person going to a Nazi Youth school and wondering why they were being harassed....

by Anonymousreply 5006/14/2013

I don't understand why you are upset about this. She was a Lesbian after all, in a good Christian school.

by Anonymousreply 5106/14/2013

It doesn't sound like she was too upset about getting kicked out, only about not getting her transcripts because they rescinded her scholarship, which may or may not have happened.

by Anonymousreply 5206/14/2013

The "restoration" thing sounds a lot like pray the gay away - something that is psychologically damaging. So fuck people like r45 who smugly say "thems tha rules."

I wish a school that kicked you out if you suddenly 'realise' you're a Christian would be established, just to see the reactions.

by Anonymousreply 5306/14/2013

r53, the restoration thing is essentially when a person recognizes they have sin, acknowledges that, asks God for forgiveness for the sin while believing that faith in Jesus will effectuate forgiveness, and committing oneself to not repeating the sin through various actions such as Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other committed Christians. After the period of restoration, one is considered restored and in good standing with the Christian fellowship. It is not simply some "pray away the gay" thing. The focus is on actions, in this case, not repeating things that Christianity considers sin. It is a Christian acknowledging they have sinned and committing themselves to not repeating the sin.

by Anonymousreply 5406/14/2013

A bit OTT there, R55, don't you think? R54 was just clarifying for R53.

by Anonymousreply 5606/14/2013

I think for six thousand dollars and the possibility of a sheep skin, I would have been able to check my pussy munching activities if that was the sort of thing I was into. In retrospect, she will probably come to the same conclusion. Now, I understand she's a young adult but she's an adult, still. She was in violation of the school's rules. No matter how wacky you believe the rules to be, you either obey or seek elsewhere. That's it. She should chop this up as a hard but early life lesson learned.

by Anonymousreply 5706/14/2013
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