Student faces campus expulsion after coming out on Facebook?

Summary:A student has allegedly been threatened with campus expulsion after posting about her sexuality on Facebook.

Kiah Zabel, a Michigan College student, is reported to have been threatened with campus accommodation expulsion after revealing her sexuality on Facebook.

Zabel claims she has been informed that unless all references to her sexuality are removed from the social networking account on Facebook, then it is possible that the student will be expelled from her accommodation on the christian colleges' campus.

The 19 year-old Rochester College student recently came out as a lesbian on Facebook, posting a photo with the slogan, "Out...Proud...Lesbian.". Not too long after this photo was posted, Zabel reportedly received a letter from the Rochester College's Dean of Students, requesting that she remove both the photo and accompanying caption.

The Dean, Brian Cole, is said to have written:

"I appreciate your move towards honesty and being the real you, but I'm going to have to insist that you change your Facebook banner picture. 'Out...Proud...Lesbian' is not really consistent with the heritage of Rochester College and has proven to already be disruptive among fellow students who are really bothered by it."

Furthermore, unless the student chose to comply, then the college may take action to remove her from campus. In a meeting with school officials, the student was also requested to 'hide' her sexuality in order to conform to the colleges' values. According to the student handbook at Rochester College, the academic institution holds to the precepts of a sexual relationship being acceptable solely within marriage and between husband and wife.

sexual relationships are designed by God and to be expressed solely within a marriage between husband and wife.

Zabel told Fox Detroit that she felt the letter was unfair, and that 'she shouldn't be punished for being honest'. Her family have supported the disclosure of her sexuality, and in comparison, the college sees it as a threat to their reputation and the values it stands for.

In response to the allegations, a statement has been released by the President of Rochester College, Rubel Shelly:

In response to a recent allegation of Kiah Zabel, a sophomore at Rochester College, the college affirms the right of all its students to make educational, values, and lifestyle identifications consistent with their personal life goals. At the same time, the college affirms its right as an educational institution to maintain its standards and values with consistency over time.

The report that the college has asked Ms. Zabel to leave the school is incorrect. She has not been dismissed or threatened with dismissal from the college. Such action would be inconsistent with the college's principles and established practice. We do not bully or coerce. To the contrary, we are a community that values all its members and affirms the Golden Rule of treating others as we would wish to be treated.

The essential values of the college are well-known and widely published, and students tend to choose Rochester College based on their sympathy with these values. Students who find themselves uncomfortable with these standards always have options at other schools in the area.

Rochester College expects its faculty, employees, and students to honor the commitments all of us make upon employment or enrollment to support the values of the institution.

Image credit: C.Osborne/ZDNet

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About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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