A student expelled from his social work course after he expressed anti-gay marriage views on social media has launched a legal challenge against the decision.
At a hearing today, Felix Ngole will ask the High Court to allow a judicial review of Sheffield University’s decision to remove him from his social work masters course in February 2016.
The university excluded Ngole after he made Facebook posts supporting Kim Davis, a US county clerk who was jailed after refusing to give marriage licenses to same sex-couples. He also published quotes from Leviticus on his private Facebook account, which described homosexuality as an “abomination”.
Ngole argued the views were part of his Christian faith and his comments were made in a personal capacity.
But a university conduct committee found his actions would fall short of the professional standards for social workers set by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and he was expelled from his course. He later lost an internal appeal against the decision.
‘Bar to office’
The High Court refused Ngole’s initial application for a judicial review but it has granted him a hearing so he can put his case in person.
Ngole said the university’s move had created a “bar to office for Christians”.
He said: “My beliefs about marriage and sexual ethics reflect mainstream, biblical understanding, shared by millions around the world. Simply expressing that understanding, in a personal capacity, on my Facebook page, cannot be allowed to become a bar to serving and helping others in a professional capacity as a social worker.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supportin Ngole’s legal fight, said: “Felix has worked with people who identify as homosexual, treating them with respect and kindness. What he shared on his Facebook page simply reflects biblical teaching on sexual behaviour.
“Unless he wins this case he will be forever barred from social work. Felix is entitled to express his views, especially ones shared by millions of people around the world. There is no evidence that Felix’s views adversely impacted his work. Quite the contrary, he was a hard-working student who would be an asset to the profession.”