Counseling Student Expelled For Refusing to Treat Gay Client, Wins $75,000 Payout

A  graduate student in the Eastern Michigan University counseling program who had been expelled for refusing to treat a gay client has received $75,000 from the school in a settlement.

“EMU has made the decision that is in the best interest of its students and the taxpayers of the state of Michigan to resolve the litigation rather than continue to spend money on a costly trial,” said spokesman Walter Kraft.

In 2009, Julea Ward was dismissed from her training, she claimed, because she declined to treat a gay client, instead passing him off to another counselor. EMU’s position was that Ward was dismissed for not following the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics.

A suit filed by The Alliance Defense Fund, the right-wing Christian legal group founded by anti-gay activists James Dobson and Donald Wildmon, petitioned the university to change its curriculum “to allow counseling students to refer clients elsewhere on issues related to same-sex relationships, abortion and premarital sex,” reports the Detroit Free Press.

Despite the settlement, Kraft says the school’s policies will remain intact. “The faculty retains its right to establish, in its learned judgment, the curriculum and program requirements for the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University.”

In a YouTube video for the Alliance Defense Fund, Ward said that she “never refused to counsel homosexuals” but “had simply refused to affirm their lifestyle.”

Source: Detroit Free Press

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  • Jonathonz

    She’s in the wrong line of work if she’s compelled to judge other people for what comes naturally to them and in now way harms themselves or anyone else. I would think that being able to put aside your own prejudices would be one of the first requirement for being a counselor. It’s too bad they caved and awarded her $75000. She’s now getting a free education and having her judgmental attitude affirmed. God help her future clients.

  • austin0419

    As someone in the counseling profession, this strikes me as absolutely disgusting. I can understand the school wanting to settle to just be done with this woman. Might be for the best. However, the real loser in this situation is her. She might have earned a $75K payout, but she will never be admitted into an accredited counseling program again. She will be blackballed by all legitimate counseling institutions. Good for EMU for kicking her ass out.

  • ChiChi Man

    What a disgusting excuse for a human being. A gay person goes for help and gets rejected. I understand the pay-out and wanting to be rid of her, but I’m also pissed off. If a doctor refused to treat Muslim patients, he or she would be out of a job without a cent. She had a job to do and she didn’t do it. She doesn’t deserve compensation for being a bigot.

  • Ogre Magi

    I hate christians

  • 2eo

    @austin0419: Excellent news on the blackballing, shame it wasn’t in the UK, I’ve been itching to use an excellent source which became available earlier this year.

    This nutcase is not fit to treat anyone for anything, ever. Sad that it took right wing traitors with massive pockets to bully the board into submission.

  • niles

    Hope it was worth it, B.

  • queerty1958

    I find it so incredible that she would discriminate against another person; someone who’s in a minority of the population. I guess she forgot about her black heritage and how they have been discriminated against in America for a long time. There is no excuse for her behavior. I’m sure she is justifying it through her religion. What a bitch!

  • Raquel Santiago

    We as counselors, therapists are not allowed by law to discriminate against anyone. Did she not take Multi-cultural training.

    Being gay/trans myself i cannot choose to just serve gay clients, i have to help anyone who asks and nor would I ethically or morally turn down anyone. She should not be a counselor and needs to have her license revoked. I doubt that this legal battle is far from over and she will be facing a lot more problems in the years to come.

  • Raquel Santiago

    “had simply refused to affirm their lifestyle.”

    You dont have to affirm anyone lifestyle, you job as a counselor is to counsel them, help them. I do agree that her passing the client off to another counselor more qualified to help the client was a good decision. However, we cannot pick and choose our clients. She will stand before a review board at some point if she applies for further licensure.

Comments are closed.