A midwifery student banned from her hospital placement at Nottingham University in England won an apology and settlement from the university.
On Nov. 25, the university apologized to Julia Rynkiewicz for suspending her because of her involvement with the pro-life Students for Life Society and paid her an undisclosed amount. For four months, the university subjected her to a fitness-to-practice investigation because she was a midwife who wanted babies to be born alive. The investigations stopped her studies and left her without access to student financial aid.
Rynkiewicz served as president of Nottingham’s Students for Life. The school said she was unable to be a midwife because of material available at the society’s stall and her public association with the society. Nottingham’s school policy officially supports abortion.
“One of Julia’s lecturers lodged a complaint with the university’s Midwifery School after interacting with her at the society’s Freshers Fair stall. Julia was suspended from her placement just three days later, before ultimately being cleared by a fitness to practice committee,” Laurence Wilkinson, legal counsel at ADF International, wrote in The Spectator earlier this year about the circumstances that led up to her suspension.
“[Rynkiewicz] went through a period of great distress and anxiety. Getting this far into her university course and realizing it might not happen was a very distressing time for her. It was particularly difficult for her because at university, you’re encouraged to have an opinion. To be told she was going to be suspended for doing the thing she came to do was really tough,” Lois McLatchie, communications officer for Alliance Defending Freedom International, told The Christian Post.
Following the dismissal of the allegations against her, she filed a formal complaint with the university in January. Since then, she has negotiated with Nottingham University with the help of ADF International. McLatchie said Rynkiewicz’s victory isn’t a court victory, but it still sets a valuable example to other schools in the U.K.
“To have the university acknowledge they were wrong is great for her. It’s real justice,” McLatchie said. “This wasn’t a judicial decision. It was a formal complaint brought to the university. I’m very glad Nottingham realized they had done wrong in stifling Julia’s free speech. I hope they’re realizing wrong has been done and [that] it sets an example for other universities.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jackson Elliott