Gay Student Says Mo. College Denied Him Readmission Because of His Sexuality
(HANNIBAL, Mo.) -- A college student who recently disclosed that he was gay claims he was denied readmission to a Missouri university after coming out on Facebook. Chase Martinson, 20, received a letter from Hannibal-LaGrange University saying that readmission to the school only applied to "academically and morally qualified students," according to the letter signed by Dr. Raymond Carty, Vice President for Enrollment Management.
Aside from notifying Martinson, a nursing student, his application was currently in a state of inactivity during a review process, the letter -- obtained by ABC News -- also referred Martinson to pages 20 and 27 of the student handbook for specifics on the university's guidelines on student life. Page 27 states: "The promotion, and advocacy of, or ongoing practice of a homosexual lifestyle is contrary to institution expectations and is therefore prohibited," under the section "Sexual Impropriety."
Hannibal-LaGrange University -- which describes itself as "a four-year Christian university" -- had no comment and referred ABC News to their attorney. The school's lawyer, John Morthland, said he could not discuss the issue, saying he was "prohibited to comment because of FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] unless you have a written waiver from the student."
Martinson, who had been on the Dean's List and a scholarship athlete on the university's volleyball team, applied for readmission to Hannibal-LaGrange after a temporary medical leave in October. "I have a major depressive disorder, and it hit me real hard," Martinson told ABC News. "I wasn't able to keep going, that's what prompted my initial withdraw." Though it was not one big secret amongst his peers, Martinson, a junior, came out officially in a Facebook post in December. "I'm gay. Just so everyone knows for sure. It's official. And yes, I'll still see you guys in heaven. And no my status wasn't hacked," Martinson wrote at the time.
"The main reason I didn't come out at school was honestly because I was bullied a lot," Martinson said. Living in an all-boys dorm, "There would be times that I crossed the street to go to the bathroom because I didn't feel safe." Although he felt discriminated against, Martinson recently took to Facebook and wrote: "Even if invited back, I would never return to a university where I was bullied, ridiculed and put down just because of the way I am."
Martinson was left with a few options -- to appeal, sue or go elsewhere to pursue his education. He chose to go elsewhere. Martinson said he thought about appealing "for maybe a few seconds." "I didn't feel like I should have to do that in the first place, I don't feel like anyone should," he said.
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