Brandon Jenkins was denied entry to a radiation therapy program at the Community College of Baltimore County because of his Christian faith and was advised to not wear his religion on his sleeve, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleges.
Now, I have to admit to being a bit skeptical when I first heard about Mr. Jenkins’ plight – seeing how this is the age of tolerance and diversity. But any doubt I had melted away after his attorney showed me the proverbial smoking gun.
David French, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice, has an email written to his client by Adrienne Dougherty, the director of the college’s radiation therapy program.
In the email Ms. Dougherty explains why Jenkins was denied entry into the program. She wrote that while his grades were good, there were other students with higher grade point averages. Applicants had to have a 2.5 overall GPA to be eligible. Still, it seemed plausible that there were other candidates with higher averages.
The college also took issue with his desire to stay in Maryland after he got his degree.
“I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I allowed you into the program and you are not able to find a job based on your past,” she wrote.
Mr. French acknowledged that his client had a single criminal charge on his record – dating back more than 10 years. Early in the admission process, Mr. Jenkins asked if that would be a problem, and he was assured it would not hamper his effort.
But then – Ms. Dougherty dropped the bombshell, the lawsuit alleges.
“I understand that religion is a major part of your life and that was evident in your recommendation letters, however, this field is not the place for religion,” she wrote. “We have many patients who come to us for treatment from many different religions and some who believe in nothing at all.”
And then, Ms. Dougherty offered what I imagine in her mind must have been helpful advice in this age of tolerance and diversity.
“If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process,” she wrote.
This field is not the place for religion.
“I was astonished by the email,” Mr. French told me in a telephone conversation. “While colleges routinely discriminate against Christians, rarely do they state their discrimination so explicitly.”
In a letter to the ACLJ, a law firm representing the community college, defended Ms. Dougherty’s statement.