On May 28, Liberty News Now published an article based on a story written by Gabriella Morrongiello that appeared on Campus Reform – a web-based college news site – about the suspension of Jeremy Rawls, a Marine combat veteran who is a Mississippi College student.
In the report Liberty News Now relied on for its story, Campus Reform stated that Mr. Rawls was suspended from Mississippi College specifically because of his request to switch counselors.
In a written release by Mississippi College, the college stated emphatically that:
“This statement is not true.” “While Mississippi College cannot specify the details related to Mr. Rawls temporary suspension, we want to firmly deny these accusations. In addition, the suspension did not occur because he is a Marine combat veteran.
Following the initial interim suspension, Mr. Rawls was allowed to continue his coursework. Mississippi College officials were able to meet with Rawls late last week to discuss his return to his student worker position.
Mississippi College President Lee Royce said in the statement that MC is recognized as one of the most-veteran friendly institutions of higher learning in the country and that:
“MC would never intentionally place a student in a situation creating the sort of discomfort Rawls experienced”
“MC is committed to honoring our U.S. Armed Forces student veterans, current service members, veteran dependents and survivors with veteran-focused educational and student support services.” “MC enthusiastically welcomes the men and women who have served our country.”
Liberty News Now regrets any confusion arising out of its initial report.
As published on May 28, 2015:
Jeremy Rawls, a Marine who went on two combat tours in Iraq, just got kicked out of Mississippi College—because he asked for a different therapist than the one he was assigned.
Rawls suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which afflicts many veterans due to the atrocities they saw in war. When he received a counselor through the university, he was paired with a female therapist who wore traditional Muslim dress. Rawls requested a different counselor.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to participate,” Rawls explained. “I didn’t want to traumatize her and it wasn’t a good environment to be talking about [my PTSD] with that specific person.”
Rawls alleges that his requests to change counselors were completely ignored by the university, until one day they sent him a letter telling him that he was suspended from school until they could conduct a mental evaluation. They also labeled him a threat to campus safety, which Rawls found especially insulting and “extremely offensive.”
After outcry, Mississippi College was forced to issue a formal statement backtracking Rawls’s suspension. They claim that his suspension was not because of his counselor switch request, but did not elaborate on why Rawls was suspended. Regardless, he’s now back on campus and free to take classes.
Rawls, however, is taking his recent notoriety as a platform to warn other veterans about the misconceptions the public has about PTSD—and how, if they’re not careful, they could get caught in the increasingly rigid liberal education bureaucracy.
“If they’ll do this to me, and I’m one of the most outspoken veterans on campus, they’ll definitely do this to others,” Rawls explained. “They asked me what I wanted and I told them I want to be a normal student.”