Dismissing a gay
student may not hurt the University of the Cumberlands
when it applies for accreditation for a pharmacy school that
is in the planning stages. Peter Vlasses, executive
director of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy
Education, said Wednesday that his organization has
not received an application from the Kentucky university and
that discussion of the issue would be
hypothetical. In general, institutions should follow
nondiscriminatory policies against gays only in states
that have such laws, he said. Kentucky has no law protecting
gays from discrimination.
Vlasses's comments came as about 50 people were
protesting the expulsion of Jason Johnson after he
posted on the Internet that he is gay. Protesters said
the private Southern Baptist-affiliated school should
not receive state funding to build a pharmacy school.
University attorney Jamie Jordan, of Nashville,
said that he was "really pleased" by the news and
remains "completely comfortable" that the university
will meet pharmacy accreditation standards.
Vlasses said the national pharmacy accrediting
agency's standards are intended to "stay within state
and federal laws and regulations and not supersede
them." The agency would consider any discrimination
allegations when an application is filed. "Every
circumstance and every application and every complaint
will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis," he said.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
has accredited the university. The pharmacy
accrediting agency would work with it to determine
whether the university can support a pharmacy school.
Jim Taylor, president of the university, has not
said when the school will apply. He has said students
could begin taking pre-pharmacy courses through the
university's existing programs this fall and that he expects
the pharmacy building to be ready for the fall 2007