- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A 19-year-old California student has filed a religious accommodation request at Sonoma State University after she said school officials ordered her to remove her cross necklace, because it might “offend others.”

Audrey Jarvis was working for the school’s Associated Students Productions at a student orientation fair on Thursday when she claimed her supervisor ordered her to take off the necklace, Fox News reported.

Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser, who is representing Ms. Jarvis, said the supervisor told her that the chancellor had a policy and that “she could not wear her cross necklace because it might offend others, it might make incoming students feel unwelcome, or it might cause incoming students to feel that ASP was not an organization they should join.”

“My initial reaction was one of complete shock,” Ms. Jarvis told Fox News. “I was thrown for a loop.”

A second time, the supervisor suggested she hide the cross under her shirt. The request offended Ms. Jarvis so much that she left her job early.

“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,” she added. “I was very hurt and felt as if the university’s mission statement — which includes tolerance and inclusivity to all — was violated.”

University spokeswoman Susan Kashack confirmed to Fox News that the incident occurred and the president is “very upset” about it.

“Someone who works here was concerned that the cross might be off-putting to students who are coming to campus for the first time,” she said, adding that the supervisor was “completely wrong.”

“[Sonoma State President Ruben Arminana] was very upset about it and asked me to contact Miss Jarvis and give a profuse apology,” she told Fox News.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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