SOUTH YORKSHIRE, U.K. — A student at a prominent university in the United Kingdom who was expelled over a post on his personal Facebook page that outlined the biblical stance on homosexuality has been granted the right to challenge his expulsion in court.
Deputy High Court Judge James Lewis opined on Wednesday that Felix Ngole’s expulsion from the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire might have been too severe of a reaction. He gave the student permission to bring his case before the High Court in London for formal review.
As previously reported, in September 2015, Ngole, 39, had posted on his private Facebook 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, 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 studying to be a social worker, then became the subject of a “Fitness to Practice” hearing, as he was advised 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.”
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“Your student record will be terminated shortly and your library membership and university computer account withdrawn.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 last April, 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.
With the assistance of the Christian Legal Centre, Ngole took the matter to the Royal Courts of Justice.
“We are pleased that the judge has granted permission to judicially review the university’s decision,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre. “This case has wide-reaching ramifications for the freedom of Christians, and we will continue to fight with Felix to ensure that these freedoms are upheld.”
“Felix has worked with people who identify as homosexual, treating them with respect and kindness. What he shared on his Facebook page simply reflects biblical teaching on sexual behavior,” she outlined. “Unless he wins this case he will be forever barred from social work. Felix is entitled to express his views, especially ones shared by millions of people around the world.”