Claflin University, a small historically black institution in South Carolina, kicked a student out of her dorm last year after it found out she was pregnant.
It didn’t refund her the dorm payment, and Kamaria Downs had to move in with a professor.
After she graduated, Downs threatened to sue the school for violating Title IX – leading Claflin to revise its anti-pregnancy policy.
NBC News reports that Downs and the school reached a confidential settlement last month, under which Claflin will provide “reasonable accommodations to pregnant students in the same way it does for students with disabilities or temporary medical conditions”:
Claflin University, which is affiliated with the Methodist Church, had prohibited pregnant students from living in the dorm after their first trimester. It also required pregnant students to submit medical documentation not required of other students under a doctor’s care.
The university found out about Downs’ pregnancy through medical records she filled out for her spring student teaching assignment.
Kamaria Downs was a senior honors student at Claflin University when she found out she was pregnant.https://t.co/qDLujYK5Ij
— Live Action News (@LiveActionNews) September 19, 2016
Downs’ lawyer spins the school’s treatment of Downs as a religious-liberty fig leaf, and NBC News puts it in the same category as conservative Christian colleges seeking Title IX exemptions in response to the federal government’s novel interpretation of a law prohibiting “sex discrimination” as covering “gender identity.”
Yet Claflin’s United Methodist denomination officially supports abortion rights, and its anti-pregnancy policy put “implicit structural pressure” on students to abort their children, as Secular Pro-Life notes. (The United Methodists did withdraw from a religious pro-choice lobbying coalition this spring, as Secular Pro-Life adds.)
Feminists for Life, which aims to remove barriers to pregnant students remaining in school, also said it has reached out to Claflin to help “develop resources” for pregnant students there.