A Catholic pro-life midwifery student, who faced suspension from midwifery studies and a fitness-to-practise investigation, has won an apology and a payout from her university.
The Telegraph reported that Julia Rynkiewicz, 25 ,who served as the president of ‘Nottingham Students for Life,’ a pro-life student society, faced expulsion from her degree at Nottingham University after lecturers raised concerns about her fitness to practice in 2019.
Concerns by the university had centred on her public association with the society, which was initially denied affiliation by Nottingham University’s Students’ Union, along with material available at the society’s freshers’ fair stall.
University officials later U-turned on their decision and dismissed the case against her. However, Ms Rynkiewicz filed a formal complaint with the university, as she felt that she was unfairly targeted for her beliefs. She said she did it “as a matter of justice” so that “they realise they have done wrong and will change it so that no one else has to go through what I have”.
According to The Telegraph, Nottingham University has now settled with Ms Rynkiewicz, who’s from southeast London.
“What happened to me risks creating a fear among students to discuss their values and beliefs, but university should be the place where you are invited to do just that,” Ms Rynkiewicz said.
In a statement a University of Nottingham spokesperson said: “While all universities take fitness-to-practice considerations extremely seriously, the university has offered an apology and settlement to Ms Rynkiewicz and is considering how we might approach such cases differently in future.
“The university and Students’ Union supports the rights of all students to bodily autonomy and access to safe, legal abortion services, which is the position in law. Universities should be spaces to debate, discuss and disagree points of view, and with more than 200 student societies, covering the full range of beliefs and perspectives, we are confident this is the case at Nottingham.”
Julia said, “Putting my life on hold because of an unjust investigation was really difficult, both mentally and emotionally. The settlement demonstrates that the university’s treatment of me was wrong, and while I’m happy to move on, I hope this means that no other student will have to experience what I have”.
(Picture Courtesy: Right To Life, UK)