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Dismissing gay
student may not affect Kentucky school's accreditation

Dismissing gay
student may not affect Kentucky school's accreditation

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 semester. (AP)

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