Student wins payout from Nottingham University after suspension over pro-life views

Julia Rynkiewicz(Photo: ADF International)

A Catholic midwifery student who was suspended from her studies at Nottingham University for leading a pro-life society has won an apology and payout. 

Julia Rynkiewicz, 25, was suspended from her studies in midwifery and subjected to a four-month fitness-to-practice inquiry because of her role as president of Nottingham Students for Life.

The investigation left Ms Rynkiewicz with the prospect of being expelled from the university.

The Telegraph reports that the university dismissed the case against Ms Rynkiewicz, who then pursued a formal apology from the institution. 

University bosses have now reached a settlement with Ms Rynkiewicz and offered an apology, the newspaper reports. 

Responding to the outcome, she told The Telegraph: "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.

"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."

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."

Nottingham Students for Life is one of several pro-life groups that have had to fight for official affiliation with student unions because of their views on abortion. 

Last year, Nottingham Students for Life won the right to affiliate with Nottingham University Student Union after initially being rejected. 

The union only reversed its decision after the student group threatened legal action.