Wiccan's discrimination complaint rejected

Vancouver, Canada - B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a Wiccan woman's complaint that Vancouver's Langara College discriminated against her in expelling her from an "energy healing" program.

Sally Wild enrolled in the college's Centre for Holistic Studies in 2006, and at that time reported she had been a member of Wicca for 10 years, according to tribunal documents.

Wicca, a nature-based religion, has been associated with witches, magic spells and sorcery.

Langara says its three-year integrative energy healing program "bridges ancient eastern practices, western teachings and recent scientific discoveries to put the emphasis on awakening the body’s innate potential to heal itself."

Wild alleged in her complaint to the tribunal that a Langara instructor said to her during a February 2007 school retreat: "We don't burn witches, we just kick them out of programs."

Wild reported the comment in April 2007 to the college's dean of continuing studies, Doug Soo.

Ejected from program

In an affidavit submitted to the tribunal, Soo said he investigated Wild's complaint and decided to remove her from the program in early May 2007 after learning of Wild's alleged loud behaviour and comments that she would harm herself if her boyfriend were not in her life.

Instructors also told Soo that Wild claimed to have the mentality of a good sniper, Soo said in his affidavit.

Soo said he was very concerned about the comment, in light of the shooting at Montreal's Dawson College in September 2006 and the killing of 32 people at Virginia Tech by a student gunman in April 2007.

Wild complained to the school that she was not given a chance to respond to the allegations and in late May she was reinstated into the program.

After her reinstatement, Wild went to the tribunal in August 2007 and claimed the school had discriminated against her.

She later elaborated as part of her complaint that she was mistreated because of her hereditary gifts of intuitive power and perception.

The tribunal said in a decision issued July 27 that Wild was not able to prove her case and dismissed her complaint.

The decision did not specify whether Wild completed the college's energy healing program.