Ypsilanti Citizen Community Lincoln Schools

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Students react to EMU lawsuit

Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Community voices mixed views

By Charnika Jett
Apr. 9, 2009    ·    4:19 p.m.


Updated 11:12 p.m.

A former graduate student who claimed she was dismissed from the school’s counseling program based on her religious views towards homosexuality is suing Eastern Michigan University.

According to attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom, EMU dismissed Julea Ward from the program because she would not agree prior to a counseling session to affirm a client’s homosexual behavior and would not retract her stance in subsequent disciplinary proceedings.

Ward is suing the entire roster on EMU’s board of regents; Susan Martin, EMU’s president; Vernon Polite, dean of the college of education; counseling professors Irene Ametrano, Yvonne Callaway and Suzanne Dugger; Perry Francis, associate professor of counseling; Gary Marx, assistant professor of educational leadership; and Paula Stanifer, a student on the formal review committee.

Prior to Ward’s dismissal from the university, counseling professors disciplined her after she referred a homosexual client to a different counselor. In a complaint filed by her lawyers, Ward stated an adviser approved this.

Following this, an informal review meeting was held with professors Callaway and Dugger. According to the complaint, Ward was told she should change her views on homosexuality. If she did not, her options were to either leave the program voluntarily or request a formal review hearing.

According to the complaint, Ward asked for a formal review and was dismissed from the program by the review committee on March 12. The decision was upheld by Polite on March 26.

This lawsuit is causing a stir among the students on EMU’s campus. Some students agree with Eastern for dismissing the student from the program, while others believe if asked to do something that goes against your beliefs, you have the right not do it.

Lawrence Williams, a graduate student in African American Studies at EMU, agrees with the university.

“My undergrad is in social work and when you enroll into a program such as social work, psychology, counseling, etc., you have to follow the Code of Ethics in any profession,” Willaims said. “During your senior year in your major, you have to sign a contract or form of agreement stating you will follow these codes.

"If you cannot follow this, you should change your major or be dismissed from the program as she was," he said.

Gwendolyn Ervin, freshmen at EMU majoring in nursing feels very strongly about the issue. As an active member in her church and also a member of Eastern’s gospel choir, she said she understands where Ward is coming from.

“I feel as though they should have accommodated for her," Ervin said. "They could have reprimanded her, but not took (her) out of the program completely.

“Until you get to the certain position where you can pick and choose who you want to work with, of course you have to deal with these people,” she said

Teara Keys, also a freshman at EMU majoring in Biology, said she understands Ward's stance as well, but believes she should have acted differently.

“If this is your job, you do what you have to do,” Keys said. “You are not God, and therefore you do not make up the rules.

"If this is your job, you can’t judge anyone because of what sexual orientation they are.”

Other students at Eastern have mixed views on the topic. Jessica Walton, sophmore majoring in Public Relations is one of them.

“It’s a very difficult topic to talk about, but I understand where both sides are coming from,” Walton said.

In a dismissal letter given to Ward, EMU said Ward was removed for violating two provisions in the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics, which are found in the counseling program’s handbook.

The two provisions state that a student should not impose values “inconsistent with counseling goals” and should refrain from discriminating people based on culture and sexual orientation.

Because of the dismissal, the complaint said, Ward has suffered irreparable harm and is seeking damages and re-admittance into the program.

Editor's note
The EMU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center and the EMU Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru, were contacted for this story. Neither organization wished to make a statement about this case.

The EMU LGBT Resource Center's mission statement says the group "advocates for and addresses the needs of students, faculty and staff regarding issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity," according to its Website.

According the EMU Cru Website, the group "believes that (the Bible) was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it was written without error, inerrant in the original manuscripts."

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