Student faces campus expulsion after coming out on Facebook?

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


Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Unreal - Crazy Christians - At it Again

    I can't even imagine the legal implications of this. Not being a lawyer, I will not speculate, but I will say it is another sad example of the narrow minded, out of touch, bigoted Christian crazies. I can only add my support for this student and hope she sticks to her guns.
    • no legal implications... or there shouldn't be.

      She knew these rules and agreed to them before she started. It is a private university, not public. They did nothing wrong by telling her she needs to not break the rules... if she doesn't like the rules, why did she go in the first place? Probably just to cause trouble.

      There is nothing "narrow-minded" or Bigoted to believe that sex should only be between a man and woman who are married. Just like others believe it should be between anyone who wants to, that is their belief, it doesn't make it right, or wrong... Just because you do not agree with it, doesn't mean its wrong.
      • Except that .....

        the more liberal minded do not try to force their values on others. If you only want to have sex with your spouse, good for you, (assuming of course you do have a spouse, but that brings up a whole raft of "uncomfortable" issues, some of which even "God's representatives on earth" seem to struggle with.

        Unfortunately, a LOT of so called Christians try to impose their values on others, which is wrong, (and with which you apparently agree) and pretty close to the definition of bigotry.
      • So, the more we privatize things means the less freedom of speech we have?

        Do tell more on not just the immediate situation, but how it intertwines with our government and way of life.

        Your eyes might open up somewhat widely as a result.
    • Unreal...

      But not because of the "crazy Christians" as you refer to them nor because of Ms Zabel coming out. It's unreal because she claims that Michigan College sent a letter saying she could be expelled for coming out on Facebook... and rather than accept that a Christian college does not want homosexuals attending their school (which personally offends me BTW because IMHO it is extremely close-minded) and move on. This is not a case of Christians pushing their beliefs on her but her attempting to push her lifestyle on them.
  • Unbelievable

    It's about time Christians started practicing their principles instead of trying to control other people's behavior. What happened to turning the other cheek? In this case, that cheek needs a good kick.

    Sympathies to the student and hope she makes it out of that dungeon.
    • Agreed.

      Maybe if the people bestowing negative votes would take the time to tell their side of the story, with some detail, to form a cogent argument... I'm willing to listen. Most civilized people would be.
  • She Went to a college

    where she knew in advance what the expectations were and then she was surprised, surprised I tell you, when this occurred. Shocking.
    • One has to wonder if she deliberately went in just to cause this incident

      If she knew it was a religious, private school, why would she seriously want to go there?

      Even the University of Phoenix has more credible degrees...

      Still, like what's on their website... "mercy not sacrifice"
  • Stupid -- Just Stupid

    First, I have to echo the sentiments expressed here that this woman knew the school's regulations and we're talking about a private, religious school. If she doesn't like the no being openly gay proviso, about 99 percent of the rest of the schools will be just fine with her sexuality and her desire to be open about it.
  • Two things

    Should sexual orientation become a protected status?

    If yes, then the university is wrong.

    If no, then the student broke the rules.
    • And if the student broke the rules, was it willful?

      If so, what was the point she was trying to make that she felt she had to so upend the system...

      Follow-up articles will be interesting to read, indeed...
  • It is a Christian college!

    It amazes me when people go to religious colleges, and then are surprised that they can't do something that is against the college policies. This is similar to the woman complaining that her CATHOLIC college won't allow it's insurance provider to provide birth control. Were these people born stupid, or did it take years to get there? It would be like me joining the military, and then protesting when they wanted to send me to war.