California Baptist University has been sued by a transgender student who was expelled by the academic institute for inaccurately stating that he was female.
Domaine Javier filed suit against the University on Monday in the Superior Court of California in Riverside County.
"CBU suspended her, excluded her from campus, and expelled her for one reason: she is transgender," reads the suit. "As a result of the suspension, exclusion, and expulsion, Ms. Javier has suffered economic damages, including loss of the honors scholarships CBU awarded and loss of wages."
Javier is being represented by Paul Southwick and Timothy Volpert of Davis, Wright, Tremaine LLP of Portland, Oregon.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Southwick explained that Javier's rights were violated by a university that cannot use its status as a religious academic institution to do so.
"Domaine did not lie about her gender identity. She identifies as female. She also identifies as Christian. CBU may believe that because it is a private, religiously affiliated institution, it has the right to expel transgender people without having to pay for the damages it has caused," said Southwick.
"CBU is open to the public, regardless of religious belief. CBU also does not have a policy regarding transgender people or gender identity issues. Domaine followed all the university's rules and did not violate any university policies, so she should be treated like any other student."
In August 2011, Javier appeared on the MTV program "True Life" and revealed that while identifying as a female, he had been born male.
While California Baptist had accepted Javier for a degree in nursing, the university caught wind of the MTV program and reversed course.
According to the local media source the Press Enterprise, the Unruh Civil Rights Act will be cited as the law that California Baptist is violating. However, there is dispute of its application in this case.
Jim Wood, a senior pro bono counsel for the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center, told Press Enterprise that the law generally does not regard private universities.
Established in 1950 as California Baptist College, CBU is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and sees as its mission to be "providing a Christ-centered educational experience that integrates academics with spiritual and social development opportunities."
CBU has an estimated enrollment of over 6,000 students and allows for non-Baptists and non-Christians to enroll.
Theodore Stream, an attorney for California Baptist, told the Press Enterprise that he had not seen the suit and therefore declined to comment. California Baptist University did not provide comment to The Christian Post by press time.