GFU Faces Discrimination Lawsuit

Reported by Morgan Stewart

Only months after the Portland District Court dismissed former George Fox University (GFU) football player Samuel Wani’s discrimination lawsuit, GFU now finds itself embroiled in yet another civil case; this one pertaining to mental health.

On Jan. 2, current GFU graduate student Lynn Jones, 58, filed a discrimination suit against the Christian university in the U.S District Court of Portland. After she failed to earn an internship necessary for graduation in her then Clinical Mental Health Counseling field, Jones claimed George Fox did not give her, a student with both bipolar and posttraumatic stress disorder, the proper accommodations to succeed.

Though Jones will still graduate in May with her Master of Arts degree in Social Behavioral Sciences, she is requesting $670,000 in total to supplement for future lost income, emotional and psychological damage, and student debt acquired from the counseling program she had almost completed.

Jones decided she wanted to become a counselor in response to a psychotic episode in 2009 that landed her in the Oregon State Hospital from 2010 to 2014. After breaking into her ex-husband’s home, Jones pleaded guilty-except-for-insanity in court to charges ranging from first-degree burglary to attempted arson.

In her essay to GFU Admissions, Jones wrote that because of what she had been through, she wanted to assist people with similar struggles. The program director was initially hesitant to accept the Dayton resident’s application, but talking to her case manager and counselor eventually swayed him.

Until she began looking for an internship, Jones said she had no prior complaints from program officials about her behavior. But college representatives reported several “red flags,” including what they deemed socially inappropriate communication methods and worrisome coping mechanisms for her anxiety.

As of now, there doesn’t appear to be a court date set, but discovery, or the documentation of each side’s evidence, is due on May 6. It may be months before an actual decision is reached, which would be well after Jones’ graduation.

Jessica DaughertyComment