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Group resolves issue over WVU reprimand

A religious liberty legal group says it resolved an issue regarding a West Virginia University School of Medicine professor, who the group says was reprimanded for his pro-life volunteer work.

The Liberty Institute alleged the university gave Dr. Byron C. Calhoun a written professional reprimand after his pro-life volunteer work received media attention.

Calhoun also works as vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University Hospital's Charleston office and serves as national medical advisor for the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, according to a news release from the Liberty Institute.

Roger Byron, a Liberty Institute attorney, said the university has agreed not to file a formal reprimand.

The institute asserts the university "backed off, claiming it never officially filed the reprimand" after Liberty threatened to file a lawsuit. Liberty officials said they have not filed a lawsuit in this case.   

"The university made the right decision," Byron said. "A government entity can never be allowed to threaten nor penalize someone for engaging in religious exercise or First Amendment rights. We are pleased Dr. Calhoun can continue his work."

However, a spokeswoman for WVU Healthcare & Health Sciences took issue with the Liberty Institute's characterization of events. 

"Events did not occur as characterized in the release from Liberty Institute," said Amy Johns, director of public affairs. "We can make no comment beyond that because this is a personnel matter." 

Byron noted he has been involved in this issue since the beginning and argued against Johns' statement.

"The press release is accurate," he said. "I don't know what they were saying when they said it wasn't."

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at or 304-348-5148. Follow her at


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