STUDENTS
29/02/2016 10:21 GMT | Updated 29/02/2016 10:59 GMT

Christian Student Expelled From Sheffield University For Expressing His Religious Beliefs On Facebook

A Christian student has been expelled from Sheffield University after he posted a message on his private Facebook account expressing his views on gay marriage.

Felix Ngole, who was studying a masters in social work, was told he was "no longer recognised as a university student" and was "excluded from further study". The university has since been accused of violating the Human Rights Act.

Ngole had expressed his support for Kim Davies, a US marriage clerk who objected to issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

felix ngole

Ngole was kicked off his course for the comments

In the Facebook thread, the postgraduate student explained biblical teaching on sexual ethics. Two months later, he received an email from Sheffield saying his comments were being investigated.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, Ngole was later told his beliefs "may have caused offence to some individuals" and had "transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the Social Work profession".

"Your student record will be terminated shortly and your library membership and University computer account withdrawn," an email from the university said. "You may wish to contact your funding body for advice on your financial position."

The student is appealing the decision, and says: "The way that I have been treated raises very serious issues about the way students in English universities are being censored in their views and beliefs.

“If the personal statements of students on their own social media pages, and amongst their own ‘friends’ are now to be used to judge whether they are 'fit and proper people' to serve in professions such as law, medicine, teaching and social work, then very serious questions need to be asked about the freedoms in the UK.

"The university claims my views are discriminatory but I am the one being discriminated against because of my expression of Christian beliefs. I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Shari’a law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don’t think so."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Ngole, said Christians are being "neutered".

"The university's treatment of Felix fundamentally violates its responsibilities under the Human Rights Act. The university has failed to protect his freedom of speech under Article 10 and his freedom of religion under Article 9. Students are entitled to discuss and debate their own personal views on their own Facebook page.

"Felix has worked with people who identify as homosexual, treating them with respect and not discriminating against them. What he shared on his Facebook page simply reflects biblical teaching on sexual behaviour."

Article 9 of the Human Rights Act states anyone has the "freedom to exercise religion or belief publicly or privately, alone or with others". Article 10 gives anyone the right to freedom of expression, however this is a qualified right, meaning there are limitations.

The university told HuffPost UK it would not comment as the case is subject to appeal.