Missouri Counseling Student Dismissed for Christian Beliefs
A student at the Missouri State University has filed a lawsuit against the school after it expelled him from the counseling program.
As part of his Masters’ degree program, Andrew Cash had already completed 51 hours of mandatory counseling training with the Springfield Marriage and Family Institute (SMFI), a group approved by the University to provide supervision for graduate students during their practicums.
During the course of the practicum, Cash had sought and been granted approval from the school for the SMFI to make a presentation during class time. During the authorized visit, a student asked the group’s executive director how the Institute would handle counseling for same-sex couples. The director responded that they would gladly provide counseling advice for the individuals, but that they would not be able to provide counseling advice for the relationship.
Cash echoed the organization’s stance afterwards when asked how he would handle the situation, if presented with it.
Following the presentation and remarks, the school removed SMFI as an approved counseling supervisor, and erased the 51 hours that Andrew Cash had already completed towards his Masters’ Degree. According to Cash’s legal team, a female faculty member dismissed him from the program, concluding that he “could not hold these views, which she deemed to be unethical.”
Andrew Cash is suing the University’s board of directors and several faculty members, claiming that their actions and dismissal caused significant financial hardship and ruined his opportunity to have a career as a counselor. The University has yet to comment on the lawsuit, though they continue to say that they “strictly prohibit” discrimination on the basis of religion or any other protected class.