A student has expressed her shock after being ordered by her school to remove her crucifix necklace over fears it "might offend others".
Audrey Jarvis, a student at Sonoma State University in California, was volunteering at institution's orientation fair for incoming first years when she was informed by her supervisor her religious jewellery might make other students feel unwelcome. The 19-year-old told Fox News: "My initial reaction was one of complete shock, I was thrown for a loop.
"I was offended because I believe as a Christian woman it is my prerogative to display my faith any way I like so long as it is not harming anyone else.
"I was very hurt and felt as if the university’s mission statement – which includes tolerance and inclusivity to all – was violated."
Jarvis subsequently sought legal support, saying she had no choice but to ask for "religious accommodation". Her lawyer has said she deserves an apology from the school.
Jarvis was later told to either remove her cross or hide it for a second time, and she consequently left her student worker job early.
A university spokesperson said it was a case of "political correctness got out of hand".
"Someone who works here was concerned that the cross might be off-putting to students who are coming to campus for the first time. It was absolutely an inappropriate action for him to make that request of her,” she said, adding the supervisor was "completely wrong".
The President of Sonoma State University, Ruben Armiñana, dubbed the incident "stupid", telling The Press Democrat: “It was a stupid request and uncalled for and unsubstantiated and the person who did it has admitted all that.”
Audrey's Mother, Debbie, later recalled to Fox News a conversation she had with Audrey.
“She’s a strong Christian, a faith-filled young woman who spent her summers at Catholic camp,” Jarvis said. “She’s just full of the Lord.”
“She doesn’t wear the cross as a fashion statement,” she said. “It’s a statement of her faith.”
As she tried to console her daughter, Jarvis reminded her that “we are still one nation under God.”
“And she told me, ‘Mom, it doesn’t feel like that here,” Jarvis said. “Our faith was attacked. It’s unnerving. I know what’s going on in this country. I know Christianity is being attacked. Now, I know it first-hand and it sickens me and saddens me.”