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College Student Expelled For Being Gay, Told to Pay Back Scholarship

GraceA college student in Nebraska is fighting to keep thousands of dollars in scholarship funds after revelations about her past relationship with another woman resulted in her expulsion from Grace University, a small Bible college in Omaha.

Danielle Powell says that Grace University is demanding she cover over $6,000 in scholarships she received during her undergraduate career. After eight months of being denied a transcript transfer because of the outstanding balance, making it impossible to transfer to another university, Powell has started a petition to demand that Grace University forgive the debt and allow her to transfer.

"I don't think a lot of people are aware of the fact that you legally can be kicked out of a school in 2013 for being gay," Powell said. "Yes, this is a legal, financial petition, technically speaking, but there's a lot of morals and social justice tied into it that is getting I think some necessary exposure."

After word of Powell's previous relationship with another woman worked its way up to top administrators, the two women were brought to campus to attend a judiciary hearing in which they were questioned separately about their relationship and their remorse. Powell was initially suspended and told she could re-enroll for her final semester if she agreed to a restoration program involving mandatory church attendance, meetings with counselors and mentors, and keeping in touch with a dean. Powell began the program, but was notified later that the administration had decided on expulsion instead. 

Most Bible colleges, including Grace University, require students to sign a statement of faith and conduct when they enroll that usually includes rules against "sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts."

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  1. Why do we continue to go to schools that hate us, though?

    Posted by: Patrick J Hamilton | Jun 15, 2013 7:29:08 PM

  2. Take home lesson: if you're gay or lesbian, don't go to a bible college.

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 15, 2013 7:31:59 PM

  3. More examples of those loving, accepting Christians. I hope they all burn in their imaginary hell.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 15, 2013 7:34:17 PM

  4. As much as I think it is wrong and should be illegal I think she is an idiot for going to bible college.

    Posted by: KM | Jun 15, 2013 7:35:41 PM

  5. jerking off OK at that school? What if you do enough yoga and know...?

    Posted by: Jude | Jun 15, 2013 7:38:10 PM

  6. Y'all should know better than to blame the victim.

    This "university's" policies are unconscionable. Especially in 2013. And, actually, I hope she sues as well.

    Posted by: redball | Jun 15, 2013 8:23:19 PM

  7. This is disgusting. I hope the school caves to public pressure.

    Posted by: JMC | Jun 15, 2013 8:34:03 PM

  8. LOL @Jude
    You're gonna be very popular at the seminary.

    Posted by: JONES | Jun 15, 2013 8:45:34 PM

  9. I think it is appalling that an educational religious institution, who is probably tax-exempt, can still, in 2013, openly discriminate on anything...

    as for someone gay going to a religious school... let's think about when we went to college... I dated girls in college, and it wasn't until after I graduated that I realized it was not for me... also, I ended up going to a school my parents decided they were cool with me going (it was a secular school, thank god), and besides scholarship, they paid for it... sometimes young people go to schools because it is the only option... and people change, a lot, in college..... so I do not blame her....

    Posted by: V-8 | Jun 15, 2013 8:46:23 PM

  10. I've always thought the bible the most evil compendium ever cobbled together. Why would anyone attend such a school in the first place? Christ-inanity is a choice. Homosexuality is not!

    Posted by: Geoff | Jun 15, 2013 8:51:23 PM

  11. What would you expect from Graceless University, a small-minded Bible college in Omaha? I'm guessing they wouldn't react very well if Jesus and His Apostles applied en masse for admission. "Something's amiss here! We better interrogate them. They spend too much time together! And, all that snickering behind our backs! Just doesn't look right."

    Posted by: Gay Is As Gay Does | Jun 15, 2013 9:03:42 PM

  12. ...I honestly dont know what she expected from a school that calls itself Grace University. She knowingly signed that statement of faith. I don't even feel bad for her. More like angry that anyone could actually be so stupid to go to an institution that obviously doesn't want gay people and then turn this into a "oh poor me. woe is me. gay people got it so hard"

    Posted by: Tom | Jun 15, 2013 9:14:04 PM

  13. She knew it was a Bible college. Why should I feel sorry for her?

    Posted by: jason | Jun 15, 2013 9:31:39 PM

  14. This reminds me of gay Republicans:

    "What??? Wait!!!! You don't mean to tell me if I belong to a organization that hates me they will crucify me the first chance they get?"

    Yes, what happened to her is wrong but if you lay with a rabid dog you're bound to get bitten.

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 15, 2013 9:32:54 PM

  15. The victim hate here is worse than the Christians hating on us.

    And can Grace legally make her pay the money back if there is no mention of scholarship repayment in the contract/statement of faith she signed? Isn't that a sunk cost given this is a private university?

    Posted by: kpo5 | Jun 15, 2013 9:35:20 PM

  16. Why would a bible college welcome gay students? She should have known better than to go there OR at the very least kept the lesbian thing under wraps until after she graduated. She did this to herself. Private institutions can discriminate all they want.

    Posted by: EnRanc | Jun 15, 2013 10:09:35 PM

  17. While I agree that she was pretty stupid to attend a bible college where she willingly signed a contract regarding student behavior, I don't think she should have to pay the $6,000 back because subsequently the college entered into another agreement with her (oral contract?) that she would enter "the restoration program." She was apparently peforming to the terms of this second agreement, which they've now broken.

    Posted by: Rexford | Jun 15, 2013 10:21:05 PM

  18. This will be interesting to watch play out. I can see a court upholding her expulsion, but also see the same court not upholding the financial repayment nor the delay in letting her transfer.

    It completely sucks, but if they want to sever her scholarship and kick her out, as a private university, they probably can. Demanding she pay back the scholarship is probably out of line, and denying her the transcript of the coursework she successfully completed is likely completely unforgivable - or it ought to be. Unless any of the classes were lab courses in heterosexuality, she completed the course work and they can't deny it.

    Posted by: Lymis | Jun 15, 2013 10:41:25 PM

  19. I have a niece that we have long assumed was gay. However, she was raised in a very conservative Christian church. Her parents are very religious, yet are very embracing of my gay family. She attended a Bible college and is now doing missionary work in Africa. I'm not sure if she's come to terms with her sexuality, or is maybe just a "tomboy", or just is doing what she thinks her parents want - who by the way would embrace her sexuality no matter what - it's just their church might not.
    Can all of us say we never hid our sexuality when we were in college? Whether you believe the Bible or practice Christianity, there are plenty of gay men and women that do. Nevertheless, Grace College doesn't read the same scripture that many of their students do.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jun 15, 2013 11:01:05 PM

  20. @Tom @jason: According the article Towleroad linked to, "(James also says in the letter that Grace will provide transcripts “and any other assistance” needed to transfer to another institution.)" She deserves sympathy and quite possibly compensation because that university apparently reneged on what had been promised.

    When a business pulls a stunt like that, it is called "bait and switch" with either civil or criminal penalties, as appropriate.

    I hope she sues that "university" for bait and switch, asking damages due to lost income resulting from a delayed education. It has nothing to do with whether she should be kicked out for having violated some silly rules. It is rather that by delaying her transfer, she has been directly harmed financially.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 15, 2013 11:07:11 PM

  21. @Tom @jason: One other thing I should have added: all of us should be angry, whether gay or straight, gay friendly or homophobic. The "university" has acted in such a way as to reduce her lifelong income. That means she'll pay less in taxes. Guess who makes up the difference? Everyone in increased tax rates or in the financial consequences of higher deficits.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 15, 2013 11:16:07 PM

  22. Whats with all this blaming the victim? For all you know maybe she considered herself straight until when she met her girlfriend

    Posted by: nick name | Jun 15, 2013 11:40:31 PM

  23. Let this be a lesson for all:
    If you're gay, don't go to a religious college - unless you're willing to be quiet about it. If you're gay and already enrolled at a religious college, either transfer or keep your homosexuality to yourself. The schools aren't going to change, nor should they even have to. Going there was YOUR choice so live with their rules.

    Posted by: MWOTH | Jun 15, 2013 11:44:22 PM

  24. I am going to be in the minority here:

    She should be expelled and she should be required to pay back the Scholarship. I don't believe the school is in the wrong.

    She chose to go to the school. She chose to sign the pledge. She chose to break it while attending the school. If this were a public university and a non-religous scholarship it would be a different story.

    If we want the jesus-crispies to not force themselves on us, they have the same right to not have to us to force ourselves on them. Respect is a two way street.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Jun 16, 2013 12:22:02 AM

  25. I wouldn't have gone there in the 1st place, WTH.

    But she should get her [expletive] money or credits back...

    Posted by: Kevin LS | Jun 16, 2013 1:10:40 AM

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