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College course lumps homosexuality, rape, murder

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio faces questions about its accreditation because of a course description that links homosexuality with crimes like murder, rape and robbery.

The university's social work program offers the course, called SWK 314 Deviant Behavior. The course description reads: "The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use."

Members of a Franciscan University gay and lesbian alumni group on Facebook discovered the course description and have asked the school to change it.

"As a lesbian and as a psychological professional, I found a couple of things offensive," says Elizabeth Vermilyea, who graduated from Franciscan University in 1991 with a psychology degree. Today she's working on a doctorate and consults with mental health organizations. She objects to including both mental health and homosexuality in that list.

"The state of the art in science on homosexuality is not that it's deviant," says Vermilyea. "The DSM — Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — has removed it ... as an illness."

Read the full story from NPR HERE.