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Key points relating to the ruling on Ward v. EMU

Vice President for Communications Walter Kraft provided the following information related to the July 27, 2010 summary judgement:

  1. We are pleased that the court has agreed that the University acted appropriately and did not discriminate against Julea Ward. She was dismissed from the program for failing to meet curriculum requirements, nothing more and nothing less.
  2. The federal court ruling reaffirms our position from the outset -- this case has never been about religion or religious discrimination. Nor is it about homosexuality or sexual orientation. This case has always been about what is in the best interest of a client who is in need of counseling and following the curricular requirements of our highly-respected and nationally-accredited counseling program, which adheres to the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association and the Ethical Standards of the American School Counselor Association. Those Ethical Standards require that counselors are not to allow their personal values to intrude into their professional work.
  3. The fact that the federal court dismissed all of the claims brought by Ms. Ward and the Alliance for Defense Fund is verification that Eastern Michigan at no time discriminated against Ms. Ward. Specifically, the Court found that EMU did not violate Ms. Ward's first amendment rights, did not retaliate against her for exercising her first amendment rights, did not violate the free exercise clause of the United States Constitution, did not violate the equal protection clause, the Establishment Clause, and did not violate Ms. Ward's right to due process. In short, the Court found, plain and simple, that EMU acted properly in this matter and that none of Ms. Ward's rights were violated.
  4. The Court's ruling reflected strong views on the case, as conveyed in this particular section: "Plaintiff has distorted the facts in this case to support her position that defendants dismissed her due to her religious beliefs." (Opinion, p. 28)
  5. Eastern Michigan is deeply committed to the education of our students and welcomes people from diverse backgrounds into our community. We have a responsibility to the public to exercise careful and deliberate judgment about who should be permitted to graduate from our professional schools and practice in the education and health professions. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld such decisions by public universities because courts "should show great respect for the faculty's professional judgment."
  6. As one of the premiere teacher-training institutions in the United States, Eastern Michigan University takes seriously our Constitutional mission to ensure that every student who graduates from our academic programs meets applicable curricular and regulatory requirements. We will continue to pursue and defend this mission at every opportunity.

Further information about the case can be found via the links on this website.