Yesterday, I wrote about the lawsuit filed against the Community College of Baltimore County by the ACLJ on behalf of Brandon Jenkins, a prospective radiation therapy student. The suit alleges that Jenkins was discriminated against due to his expression of his religious beliefs.
The individuals named in the suit include President Sandra Kurtinitis of CCBC, Vice President of Instruction Mark McColloch, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Richard Lilley, and Adrienne Dougherty, who I mentioned yesterday is the Program Director and Coordinator of Radiation Therapy.
From the complaint:
CCBC’s admission policy to the Radiation Therapy program is based on a three-part point system with the following weighted areas: (1) Prerequisite GPA – 30%; (2) Interview & Observation Day – 40%; and (3) Writing Sample and Critical Thinking Exam – 30%.
The complaint notes that, at the time of his interview, Jenkins was Director of Harvest House, Inc., “a faith-based home for
men working to overcome life-controlling problems.”
The complaint notes that nothing was said to Jenkins at the interview about his response about God and he later learned he was rejected for admission to the program.
The complaint says that:
This came as a surprise to Mr. Jenkins because his overall GPA exceeded the standards of a “competitive candidate” for the program, as described in CCBC’s admissions catalog. In addition, Mr. Jenkins had received the maximum points allowed on the observation
portion of the interview day (which consisted of 40% of his overall score for admission)
Dougherty responded to Jenkins when he asked why he was rejected:
34. Specifically, Defendant Dougherty explained that while Mr. Jenkins’s grades were good, “there were other students who had higher GPA scores, which [accounts for] 30% of the evaluation process.” See Exhibit A.
35. Defendant Dougherty then listed the reasons why Mr. Jenkins lost points during his interview, offering the following explanation:
I understand that religion is a major part of your life and that was evident in your recommendation letters, however, this field is not the place for religion. We have many patients who come to us for treatment from many different religions and some who believe in nothing at all. If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.
Another reason Dougherty reportedly told Jenkins he was rejected was because he wanted to stay in Maryland.
Also from the complaint:
Defendant Dougherty’s reasoning was somewhat puzzling to Mr. Jenkins because, although Defendant Dougherty referred to aspects of Mr. Jenkins’s past that she felt might make it difficult for him to gain employment in Maryland, neither these areas of his past nor Mr. Jenkins’s willingness to work outside the State of Maryland following completion of the Radiation Therapy Program were raised in his admissions interview. Instead, during the interview, Mr. Jenkins was asked only if he preferred to stay in Maryland after school, to which he simply replied, “Yes.”
You may hear in the future that Jenkins has a criminal record and that had something to do with why he was rejected.
From the complaint:
40. Defendant Dougherty’s reasoning is also inconsistent with prior communications Mr. Jenkins had with her.
41. Early in the admission process, and prior to Mr. Jenkins’s submission of his application to the Radiation Therapy Program, Mr. Jenkins had specifically inquired of Defendant Dougherty whether a single criminal charge he received more than ten (10) years ago would interfere with his ability to obtain a job following completion of the Radiation Therapy Program.
42. Defendant Dougherty assured Mr. Jenkins that a former student of the Radiation Therapy Program had successfully obtained a job in Washington, D.C., despite his criminal record.
43. At that time, Defendant Dougherty further assured Mr. Jenkins that any uncertainty regarding his ability to obtain a job in Maryland would not be a reason not to accept him into the program.
I have not been able to find what exactly the criminal charge was. Regardless of what it might be, the facts presented in the complaint are troubling.
I talked to one attorney who had the following to say about the suit and some of the new facts above.
Apparently his grades and record, if true, did not stop him from getting an interview.
Even poor workers and students have a right not to face religious discrimination, particularly with specific intent
Specifically, the attorney I talked to said the following about the criminal record:
The college will raise that at trial, but I don’t see that going anywhere
Another thing to note: In addition to state funding, CCBC gets $46.7 million, or about 17 percent of its total funding, from Baltimore County.
Here’s the full complaint that ACLJ filed: