YPSILANTI (WWJ/AP) – A lawsuit filed by a woman who contends she was kicked out of a master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan University because of her opposition to homosexuality has been settled for $75,000.
The Ypsilanti school announced the settlement Monday with Julea Ward, saying it leaves Eastern Michigan’s policies and programs intact. Ward’s lawyer, Jeremy Tedesco, told AnnArbor.com he feels Ward’s constitutionally protected rights have been “vindicated.”
A federal appeals court revived Ward’s lawsuit this year. She was in a counseling program at the university when she asked her superiors to refer a gay client to someone else. Ward says she told professors that her Christian faith prohibited her from affirming homosexual behavior.
The university expelled Ward from the program, although she was just a few classes short of a degree.
“Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The Sixth Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case,” Tedesco said.
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