Danielle Powell knew people at her conservative Christian college would disapprove of her lesbian relationship, but she never thought it would lead to her expulsion or come back to haunt her to the tune of $6,000. In 2011, Powell was working on her psychology degree at Grace College in Omaha, Ne. when she was approached about the relationship. She was expelled six months before she was due to graduate and served with a bill for what the school claims are unpaid expenses that will have to be covered since she did not complete the semester.
Powell, 24, is currently engaged in an ugly fight with the school, saying that the money does not need to be repaid because it was covered by scholarships and federal loans. She adds that she was booted from Grace College even after enduring months of brainwa—er, "counseling, spiritual training and mentoring" recommended by the school after she was originally suspended.
The school argues that the money needs to be repaid because it covers federal grants and loans that the law mandates must be given back to the government because Powell did not finish the semester. The school also requires students to adhere to a strict code of conduct, forbidding them from extended hugs, kissing and obviously premarital sex. They aren't even allowed to watch certain channels, so of course they'd be appalled by a same-sex relationship.
The U.S. Department of Education said that while the issue is between Powell and the school, "it's not at all because of federal rules." While Grace and similar private colleges have to follow the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on age, gender, race and physical handicap, it says nothing about sexual orientation.
Powell has since legally married Michelle Rogers, who posted a petition on change.org requesting the school terminate the bill. The petition has received 35,000 signatures. Having your education put on hold six months prior to graduation because of your sexual orientation is already terrible, but literally being forced to pay for a semester they weren't allowed to finish is absolutely ridiculous.
[via New York Daily News]