danielle powell kicked out of grace university

Danielle Powell (R) and Michelle Rogers, her wife.

The idea of being removed from any situation or location because of your sexuality is repugnant; to be taken out of a place you’ve applied to and are paying money for is absolutely absurd. However, that’s exactly what happened in 2012 to Danielle Powell, a lesbian kicked out of Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska, simply for being gay — but that’s not even the worst part of this story.

In 2011, the religious university discovered Powell was dating a woman. As a result, she was brought before a judiciary board to determine whether or not she would be able to remain at the school. According to Powell, she was asked questions like, “Are you remorseful?” which was not dissimilar to how one might treat “a sexual predator.” Apart from just being an overall awful experience, this also had a dramatic personal impact on Powell, as it forced her to come out to her family, whom she was not yet ready to tell. It also meant she owed over $6,000 as payment for the semester, since a scholarship she had received was now revoked.

According to the Huffington Post, Michael James, Grace University’s executive vice president, he cannot discuss this case due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (though he nevertheless mentioned that their handbook disallows “sexually immoral behavior,” including homosexuality).

In 2012, Powell justifiably decided not to readmit to Grace, as she was still dating women and didn’t want to keep experiencing the “witch hunt” the university was putting her through as they attempted to find out her relationship conduct through others. Naturally, James (and presumably others at the University) found her sexuality needing of commentary:

James told Powell in a letter…that she was being “deceitful” and said it would be “unethical” for the university to readmit her since it “would be impossible for the faculty of Grace University to affirm your Christian character, a requirement for degree conferral.”

So, Powell resolved to change schools which meant she would need to transfer the three-and-a-half years of credits elsewhere. The catch? She has to pay $6,300 for the semester they kicked her out in order to receive her transcript. Yes, really.

Powell’s wife Michelle Rogers has started a Change.org petition calling for the university to forgive Powell’s debt and allow her to get the transcript. As of right this minute, the petition has 15,849 signatures. I know online petitions can be kind of (really) annoying sometimes, but hey — they take like 5 seconds and they can make a surprising difference in somebody’s life. Grace University’s disciplinary system is outdated and awful; Danielle Powell shouldn’t have to keep paying for her sexuality (literally and figuratively) after they’ve already decided to exclude her.

Photo: YouTube.