Med Student Sues University Saying He Was Expelled for Pro-Life Beliefs Right Before Graduation
A former University of Louisville Medical School student has sued the school, alleging he was expelled just months from graduation over his pro-life views.
The Daily Wire reports Austin Clark filed a lawsuit against the university’s President Neeli Bendapudi and 13 other staff members arguing that the school condoned “demeaning and harassing behavior” and expelled him due to his pro-life views in July of 2020.
Clark, a fourth-year medical student, and a conservative Christian was on the leadership board of his Medical Students for Life group. He alleges that the school’s actions were retaliatory after repeated testy conversations with the school’s faculty.
He claims the school’s vindictive response can be traced back to the hosting of a pro-life speaking event in 2018, according to the pro-life group Students for Life.
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The lawsuit claims the school attempted to prevent Alex McFarland, a Christian speaker, from making a presentation on the subject of when human life actually begins. Many of the school’s faculty and students were opposed to the event, which led to the religious rights law firm Alliance Defending Freedom becoming involved.
According to the lawsuit, a professor allegedly called Clark “stupid” and even questioned the way his “brain was working.”
The former student’s lawsuit claims that such comments are often “directed toward medical students and trainees … behavior that is particularly hostile against religious and conservative students.”
The suit also alleges that following the campus speaking event, instructors began to treat Clark differently. Allegations range from academic punishment to claims of physical harassment which led to a decline in the former student’s mental health, according to The Daily Wire.
Fox News reports Clark claims the school eventually gave him a failing grade in his internal medicine course even though he “objectively” passed it based on the numerical score he received.
The former student also alleges the school’s assistant dean asked him to sign a “professionalism contract” that other students had not been required to sign.
“They are saying I was being unprofessional, but all I’ve done is to be a vocal pro-life student, standing up to bullies,” Clark told Students for Life.
The university declined to comment on the lawsuit, according to Fox News.
On its website, the university says it supports the protection of free speech unless officials feel it’s getting in their way.
“UofL supports creative, thoughtful, and respectful discourse where conflicting perspectives are vigorously debated and thoroughly discussed,” the website reads. “UofL is dedicated to affording all members of the UofL community the protections for free speech, expression, assembly, religion, and press available under the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions and all applicable federal and state laws, in accordance with the University’s purpose and function except insofar as limitations on those freedoms are necessary to UofL’s functioning.”
The lawsuit was filed last month but was amended last week. Clark, a husband, and father of two children is asking the medical school to be reinstated and be allowed to graduate with his degree so he can become a pro-life doctor, according to Students for Life.