Audrey Jarvis, 19, is seeking an apology from Sonoma State University after being told that wearing her cross necklace while working during freshman orientation may offend incoming students.
Jarvis was working at a student orientation fair when a supervisor told her to remove the cross necklace. He said that there was a policy against wearing religious items "because it might offend others, it might make incoming students feel welcome, or it might cause incoming students to feel that ASP was not an organization they should join," lawyer Hiram Sasser told Fox News.
"My initial reaction was one of complete shock. I was thrown for a loop. I was offended because I believe as a Christian woman it is my prerogative to display my faith any way I like, so long as it is not harming anyone else. I was very hurt and felt as if the university's mission statement – which includes tolerance and inclusivity to all – was violated," Jarvis explained.
She refused to take the necklace off, and during a second encounter with the supervisor, was advised to wear the necklace under her shirt or take it off once and for all. Jarvis became so upset that she left work early.
"It's unfortunate there are university officials out there who think that it's okay to tell Christians to hide their faith – but would cringe if somebody said the same thing about hiding someone's pride in whatever political or cultural affiliation they may have," Sasser said.
"Someone who works here was concerned that the cross might be off-putting to students who are coming to campus for the first time," University spokeswoman Susan Kashack told Fox News. The supervisor was "completely wrong. It was absolutely an inappropriate action for him to make that request of her."
Sonoma State University President Ruben Arminana was reportedly "angered" by the situation and wants to personally apologize to Jarvis.
"It was a stupid request and uncalled for and unsubstantiated and the person who did it has admitted all that," Arminana said in a public statement.
"She's a strong Christian, a faith-filled young woman who spent her summers at Catholic camp," Jarvis' mother, Debbie, said. "She's just full of the Lord."
"Our faith was attacked," Audrey reportedly told her mother. "It's unnerving. I know what's going on in this country; I know Christianity is being attacked. Now, I know it first-hand and it sickens and saddens me. We need to band together as Christians and fight back."