A college in Colorado reversed its previous policy that bans the mention of Jesus or Bible quotes in graduation speeches after a student appealed for her right.
A faculty member of the Colorado Mesa University (CMU) reportedly told Karissa Erickson that she must not have any religious references in her graduation speech. She was also warned she could face "repercussions" especially since the nursing program does not support a particular religious denomination.
The student, however, sought the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to appeal for her right to express her faith in her speech. After studying her case, the group sent a letter to the college administration on May 4, which highlighted a possible violation of the First Amendment.
Dana Nunn from CMU's Media Relations told reporters that the faculty member, whose suggestion to the student was well-intentioned, actually made a mistake. Nunn acknowledged that in trying to do the right thing, the teacher might have trampled on Erickson's legal right.
"As soon as it came to the attention of CMU President Tim Foster, he recognized the faculty member's error," Nunn said. "[He] sent word to nursing faculty and the graduating student that she way free to include those references in her remarks," she added.
On Friday, Erickson stood on the stage of her graduation ceremony to deliver her speech that mentioned Jesus and referenced the Bible, as per Relevant Magazine. Erickson speech tackled overcoming adversity, according to The Blaze,
"God always has a purpose," Erickson told her classmates. "I find comfort in Jesus' words, and I pass them on to you. John 16:33. 'These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take comfort, I have overcome the world," she added.
Meanwhile, ADF applauded the college for recognizing the right of a student and reversing its ban on religious pronouncements in graduation speeches.