Felix Ngole, a Christian student undergoing his masters in social work at the Sheffield University has been expelled after he shared his opinion regarding homosexuality on his Facebook account.
Authorities of the school informed him, “you are no longer recognized as a university student” and “you are excluded from further study”. Ngole is not the first student whose rights have been violated by the University.
The postgraduate student elucidated his interpretation of biblical teaching on sexual ethics while endorsing a US marriage clerk, Kim Davies. In September 2015, Davis, a Kentucky clerk, incited propaganda after citing religious reasons for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In the thread, the 38-year-old father of four, quoted the Bible book of Leviticus where the verse says: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them”.
Two months later, Ngole received a mail from the school informing him that his earlier comments were being investigated. A subsequent email declared: “Your student record will be terminated shortly and your library membership and University computer account withdrawn. You may wish to contact your funding body for advice on your financial position.”
The Telegraph reports, “Ngole was coerced to precipitate his studies as a second year Masters student after the University’s ‘fitness to practice’ committee ruled that by calling gay marriage an ‘abomination’ on his Facebook he “transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the Social Work profession”.
The indigene of Cameroon, Africa, was apprised by the school regarding the effect his belief had made saying: “‘it may have caused offence to some individuals’ and had ‘transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the Social Work profession'”.
Stating his own side of the story, Ngole said while appealing the board’s decision:
“The way that I have been treated raises very serious issues about the way students in English universities are being censored in their views and beliefs.
If the personal statements of students on their own social media pages, and amongst their own ‘friends’ are now to be used to judge whether they are ‘fit and proper people’ to serve in professions such as law, medicine, teaching and social work, then very serious questions need to be asked about the freedoms in the UK.
The university claims my views are discriminatory but I am the one being discriminated against because of my expression of Christian beliefs. I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Shari’a law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don’t think so.”
Advocating on Ngole’s matter is the Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams. Williams attested that Christians were being “neutered”. She added: “The university’s treatment of Felix fundamentally violates its responsibilities under the Human Rights Act. The university has failed to protect his freedom of speech under Article 10 and his freedom of religion under Article 9. Students are entitled to discuss and debate their own personal views on their own Facebook page. Felix has worked with people who identify as homosexual, treating them with respect and not discriminating against them. What he shared on his Facebook page simply reflects biblical teaching on sexual behavior.”
The Human Rights Act, Article 9, states that anyone has the “freedom to exercise religion or belief publicly or privately, alone or with others”. Article 10 gives anyone the right to freedom of expression, however this is a qualified right, meaning there are limitations.
Denouncing the accusations of religious bias against Ngole, a spokesperson for the University of Sheffield stated that media reports were “incorrect”. It read:
“The University of Sheffield is concerned that stories in the media about a student undertaking a MA in Social Work are factually incorrect. The individual concerned is currently appealing the decision of a Fitness to Practice Committee, relating to professional registration and the standards of the relevant professional body. These standards are nationally determined by the Health and Care Professions Council. As the case is subject to appeal, the University of Sheffield will not comment on this case at this time”.
In Ngole’s opinion: “If each university is making its own, arbitrary decisions, who is monitoring these decisions and how can students ensure that, across all universities, there is good, fair and equal assessment of such issues?. If they are ‘censored’ from even sharing their ideas or beliefs as part of a discussion on Facebook then how can that happen? I am not against people who are in same-sex relationships: that is their choice. But I am a Christian and if asked for my views I should be free to express that. I have worked with people in same-sex relationships in the past and there has been no issue whatsoever”.
The disheartened man intends to “legally challenge the panel’s argument that he would be unable to work with gay people, as they may stumble on to the controversy surrounding his name on the internet”, according to The Guardian.