A Catholic university in Ohio could face a serious challenge to its accreditation because a social work class lumps homosexuality in the same category as rape and murder. The "Deviant Behavior" course "examines murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness, and drug use," according to the description of the class offered at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Community members and alums are demanding the course be revised, reports NPR. "What if you're a gay student at Franciscan University? How are you going to feel if you're sitting in that class and they're putting you in the same category as murderers?" asks a 1990 graduate.
In a statement to NPR, the university said the school follows Catholic Church teaching regarding homosexuality, and "treats homosexual persons with compassion and sensitivity, while holding homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered." But the teaching could seriously jeopardize the school's standing. "The fact that homosexuality was identified in the course description as a deviant behavior raises a flag," says Stephen Holloway, director of the office of accreditation at the Council on Social Work Education. The organization accrediting standards include a diversity requirement involving sexual orientation. "Understanding diversity and difference and their dynamics in society is critical for social workers to be effective in working with diverse populations," he says.