Saturday, June 06, 2009

UCLA Restricts Student's Expression of Faith in Jesus, then Retracts

An adviser on the campus of UCLA has edited a student's personal graduation statement to remove her reference to "my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ . . ."

-- From "UCLA student told she can't say 'Jesus'" by Bob Unruh © 2009 WorldNetDaily 6/5/09

The school, in a later statement, confirmed it had reviewed its procedures and would read the statements as submitted by students, after "making clear" that it was understood that it is not a university statement.

The posting revealed an e-mail exchange for a submission by student Christina Popa to faculty adviser Pamela Hurley of her "personal statement" for graduation. The statements are submitted by students, but eventually are read by faculty.

Popa wrote she wanted to say: "'I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also want to thank my father who passed away 3 years ago, for teaching me to always do my best and thus motivating me to pursue the sciences. I want to thank my mother for supporting me in school as well as my sisters and brother for encouraging me and my friends for making college fun.' I plan to work in a research lab or become a dietician."

The university, however, did release a statement explaining the reading of the "words of wisdom" is done by a member of the school administration.

"Because the reading is by the university, not the students, to avoid the appearance that the university was advocating one religion over the other, guidelines were established so that messages would not include references to particular religions," the school stated. "The department and the university support the First Amendment and in no way intended to impinge upon any students' rights.

"Thus, upon review, and recognizing that the intent of the ceremony is for all students to have a chance to say something at graduation, the department will continue to make clear to the audience that the statements are the personal statements of each student and will read statements as originally submitted by the students," the school said.

Hurley's e-mail response to Popa had said, "UCLA is a public university where the doctrine of separation of church and state is observed, in order to respect the sheer diversity of religious beliefs among the people who come here. Since that is so, we do permit MCDB graduates to thank God in their words of wisdom, but we also ask that they refrain from making more specific religious references of any kind."

She continued: "In this setting, even I would not personally be comfortable reading: 'I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.' Therefore, I need to let you know that I will read your Words of Wisdom as follows: First, I want to thank God….

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.