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Statement on Pending Litigation Surrounding Shawnee State University's Non-Discrimination Policy


November 9, 2018

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of one of our professors involving issues including free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and compliance with Shawnee State’s non-discrimination policy. The case has become a topic of discussion and debate. While we aren’t able to correct or discuss specific claims while the case is in litigation, we feel compelled – based on questions and comments from faculty, students, alumni, and friends – to share our values as an open access public institution.

Our mission at Shawnee State University is to prepare today’s students to succeed in tomorrow’s world. In support of that mission, we value freedom of expression by students, faculty, staff, and visitors on our campus — and provide an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.

We expect that as this case progresses, and details come to light, it will become clear that we made decisions in an effort to both respect our faculty member’s deep-rooted religious beliefs and our student’s right to equal treatment in the classroom. We hope it will also become evident that our non-discrimination policy is not about advocating one belief over another, but of ensuring equal treatment for all on our campus regardless of race, color, genetic information, religion, age, disability, national origin, ancestry, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or military status.

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