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Christian student to seek further action after expulsion from university course

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A Christian student, who was expelled from a university social work course after expressing support for biblical teaching on marriage on his own Facebook page, is to seek further legal action after losing his appeal against the decision.

The decision to expel Felix Ngole means he will no longer be able to continue his studies at the University of Sheffield, and pursue his desired vocation as a social worker.

'May have caused offence'

Felix, a second year Masters student, decided to appeal after he was told that, by posting his comments on Facebook, the Committee believed that he "may have caused offence to some individuals" and had "transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the Social Work profession."

His action would have an effect on his "ability to carry out a role as a Social Worker," the Committee said.

Felix is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre as he considers his next steps.

University's decision 'proportionate'

Felix has now been told by the Appeals Office that submitting the posts in question on social media was "inappropriate", in light of the professional conduct outlined in the Health and Care Professions Councils (HCPC).

The letter from the Appeals Office then claimed that Mr Ngole had not "offered any insight or reflection" on the "potential impact" of his postings, or on how the social work profession may be perceived by the public, based on what he had posted.

For this reason, the Appeals Committee ruled that his expulsion was "proportionate".

'Ended my training for my chosen vocation'

Commenting on the university's decision, Felix said:

"Like every other student at university I use social media to communicate and express personal views. In my Facebook posts in question, I simply expressed support for the biblical view of marriage and sexuality. However, I was reported to the university for these views and they unilaterally decided to end my course. In so doing, they ended my training for my chosen vocation in life.

"I shall be seeking further legal action as my case raises all sorts of legal questions as to whether Christians can any longer hold traditional biblical and moral beliefs and still enter mainstream professions such as social work, medicine, teaching and law in this country."

Targeted over Facebook comments

Felix made the comments in question last September on his personal Facebook page, in connection with the case of Kim Davis, the marriage clerk from the US state of Kentucky, who expressed a conscientious objection to issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

Felix expressed support for Kim Davies' freedom and in the course of the discussion explained biblical teaching on sexual ethics.

Nearly two months later, he received an email from a university official telling him that his comments were being investigated and summoning him to a meeting the following Monday.

Following further meetings, he was told that the Faculty of Social Sciences Fitness to Practise Committee had ruled that he should be removed from the course. 

'This case raises fundamental issues'

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:

"The university's decision reflects a worrying trend throughout Higher Education institutions, which is to censor any view that may be deemed 'offensive'.

"Mr Ngole has worked with those who identify as homosexual in the past and has always treated them with respect, never discriminating against them. There is no evidence that Felix's biblical views would have negatively impacted his work.

"We have become used to registrars, nurses, teachers, magistrates and counsellors being disciplined in their jobs for acting according to conscience, but this is the very first time a Christian student has been stopped even before he enters his chosen vocation to help others – simply for holding traditional Christians views on marriage and sexuality.

"This case raises fundamental issues which is why taking further action is vital." 

Related News: 
Christian student expelled from social work course over views on marriage  
Felix Ngole: 'I am perhaps just one of many' 
Kim David released from jail