SOUTH YORKSHIRE, U.K. — A Christian who had been studying to be a social worker at a prominent university in the United Kingdom has lost his expulsion appeal surrounding a post on his personal Facebook page where he outlined the biblical stance on homosexuality.
As previously reported, last September, Felix Ngole, 38, had posted on his private page—which is only able to be viewed by his friends—his support for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and outlined what the Scriptures state about sexuality, citing the biblical law in Leviticus.
However, nearly two months later, Ngole’s post was brought to the attention of administrators at the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, which touts itself as a “world top-100 university and number one in the U.K. for student satisfaction in the 2014-15 Times Higher Student Experience Survey.”
Ngole, who was a second-year Master’s student, then became the subject of a “Fitness to Practice” hearing, as he was advised 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.”
Following additional meetings, the Sheffield committee concluded that Ngole’s beliefs would negatively affect his “ability to carry out a role as a social worker,” and was consequently advised that he was “excluded from further study on a program leading to a professional qualification.” The school recently informed Ngole that he is “no longer recognized as a university student.”
“Your student record will be terminated shortly and your library membership and university computer account withdrawn.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,” it wrote.
Ngole appealed the decision, but this week, he received a letter from the appeals office at the University of Sheffield stating that his post was “inappropriate” in light of the professional conduct standards outlined in the Health and Care Professions Councils (HCPC).
It was additionally asserted that Ngole had not “offered any insight or reflection” on the “potential impact” that his comment might have had on his Facebook friends, or how it would reflect on the social work profession.
“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,” Ngole said in a statement on Friday. “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.”
He plans to pursue further legal action over the matter.
“[M]y 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,” Ngole 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 hep others—simply for holding traditional Christian views on marriage and sexuality,” added Andrea Williams, president of the Christian Legal Centre, which is providing assistance to Ngole. “This case raises fundamental issues, which is why taking further action is vital.”