Man says he was dismissed from local university for being gay
A man feels he has been discriminated against after a local university recently dismissed him.
Gary Campbell, Ohio, says he isn't allowed to finish his degree at Clarks Summit University because he is gay.
"It just brought up a lot of old feelings, a lot of negative feelings about what they think about my lifestyle," Campbell told FOX 56 via Skype Monday.
He says, last month, he was shunned from the private religious school over his sexual orientation.
"It hurt. I took me a couple days to, you know, recuperate from that."
Campbell first attended the university from 2001-2003. He says he had more than 100 credits before he left the school to save money. At the time, he says he wasn't able to transfer his credits to other schools .
During his first stint, Campbell says he thought he could actively turn away from being gay, believing it was "sinful and wrong." It's something he no longer believes.
"I gave it an honest effort. At that time I was just a different person. I thought I could change this. "
He then went on to enlist in the Navy. After his service, Campbell says he struggled with substance abuse. He's now in recovery and says he has been sober for 19 months. One of his goals for recovery has been to go back and earn his degree, which led him back to Clarks Summit University after all these years.
"They said well you only need two more classes to finish up. I was like wow that's great...I got a call from the Dean of Students that said congratulations on wanting to finish your degree here. You're all set."
However, he soon found out he was not welcome.
An email sent to Campbell, from school officials, reads:
I am sorry but you are in violation of our code of conduct as found in the student handbook. We have no choice but to dismiss you from Clarks Summit University.
Campbell says he was aware of the student code of conduct and unsuccessfully appealed the university's decision.
FOX56 received a statement from Clarks Summit University:
Clarks Summit University has prepared Christ-centered, career-ready graduates for more than 80 years. Since the time of our founding in 1932, our private, Christian college embraces its Baptist convictions and propels graduates into careers and service opportunities around the globe.
As a Christian college, we expect all students to act in a way that is consistent with our biblical belief system. We have always clearly stated those beliefs and have exercised the freedom to uphold our faith.
To prepare students for worldwide service opportunities, CSU clearly affirms biblical sexuality. We clearly communicate to all prospective students that we adhere to biblical truths, and expect them to do the same. That is part of what has made CSU a successful educator for more than 80 years. We would be happy to assist any former or prospective student who does not choose to agree with those faith standards to find another school in order to finish a degree. Privacy is important to us for all students, so our general policy is not to discuss specific details of any student or applicants enrollment decision.
It appears the law is on the university's side. Campbell says he has reached out to attorneys and the ACLU. He says they haven't been able to help him, saying "legally" there isn't much he can do to fight it. Campbell says he hopes to raise awareness.
"It doesn't make sense to me why I can't get the same fair treatment. I don't wish any ill will towards the school. I hope they do well in the future, but things need to change," Campbell said.
He says he planned on taking online classes.
Since news first broke, Campbell says officials at Lackawanna College have reached out to him to see if they can help him. Campbell wants to go on to become a Peer Recovery Coach to help others dealing with substance abuse.