University uses profile to expel gay student

KENTUCKY — Acollege student expelled Thursday by his university for writing he is gay onhis profile has threatened a lawsuit against theschool.

The incident may also threaten plans at the University ofCumberlands, a private school, for a pharmacy school built partly with statefunds.

One state representative has asserted that the school’spolicies against homosexuality may violate national accreditation standards forpharmacy schools, according to an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

TheKentucky Legislature is currently debating a state budget that includes $11million appropriated for the University of Cumberlands — $10 million for apharmacy school and $1 million for pharmacy scholarships, the articlesaid.

On the House floor this week, Rep. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington,called for the university to refuse the state funds after it expelled sophomoreJason Johnson for writing he was gay on, according to an articlein The Courier-Journal, aLouisville newspaper.

”We are made in the image of God, and thetime to discriminate is long gone,” Stein said in thearticle.

The incident began last week when school officials expelledJohnson after he indicated on his MySpace profile that he was gay and wroteabout his boyfriend on the site.

MySpace is a social networking sitethat allows people to post personal profiles with photos, share music and videosand maintain online journals.

In a statement released Monday, JimTaylor, president of the University of Cumberlands, said university legalcounsel had advised school officials to make no further comments on thesituation ”in light of threatened litigation.”

TheUniversity of Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Ky., is a private collegeaffiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, according to theuniversity’s Web site.

The school’s 2005-06 studenthandbook states that, ”any student who engages in or promotes sexualbehavior not consistent with Christian principles (including sex outsidemarriage and homosexuality) may be suspended or asked towithdraw.”

According to an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader, two officialsconfronted Johnson last week. They showed him the student handbook and thenshowed him a copy of his MySpace profile.

In another statement released Friday, Taylor said the University of Cumberlands holds students to a ”higher standard.”

”Students know the rules before they come to this institution,” he said.”We’ve followed our policies and procedures in keeping with ourtraditional denominational beliefs.”

Johnson hasretained an attorney and said he believes the grounds for his expulsion wereagainst the law, according to a Courier-Journal article.

On a profile of a member claiming to be Zac Dreyer, Johnson’sboyfriend, Dreyer urged people to spread news of Johnson’sexpulsion.

”He is being asked to leave the University because he is gay,” he wrote on theprofile. ”As his boyfriend, I cannot sit idely (sic) and watch them dothis to him. This is an outrage, discriminating against people just because oftheir sexual orientation.”