A Christian student is seeking further legal action after he was expelled from a U.K. university social work program for expressing support for biblical teaching on marriage on his personal Facebook page.
Felix Ngole was told following a Fitness to Practice Committee hearing at Sheffield University, that he was "excluded from further study on a program leading to professional qualification" and is "no longer recognized as a university student."
The second year Masters student was notified that, by posting his comments on Facebook, the committee believed that he "may have caused offense 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.
"Like every other student at university I use social media to communicate and express personal views," Ngole explained. "In my Facebook posts in question, I simply expressed support for the biblical view of marriage and sexuality."
"I did not say that everyone has to agree with me. However, I was reported to the university for these views and they unilaterally decided to end my course," he said. "In so doing, they ended my training for my chosen vocation in life."
Ngole appealed the school's decision believing that the university authorities have no grounds in law to "filter" and "sift" out potential candidates to a profession based on their own politically correct views.
The Appeals Office sided with the school and deemed that submitting the posts 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 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." Ngole is seeking further action with the Christian Legal Centre.
"The university's decision reflects a worrying trend throughout Higher Education institutions, which is to censor any view that may be deemed offensive," said Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre.
"There is no evidence that Felix's biblical views would have negatively impacted his work," she said.
"We have become used to registrars, nurses, teachers, magistrates and counselors 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 further action is vital," Williams added.