Students at East Carolina University were told to leave God out of the statements that they will deliver during their departmental graduation ceremony.

In an email obtained by Campus Reform, Assistant Professor Eli Hvastkovs told students to prepare a 35-word statement that discusses future plans or thanks someone.

“You can't thank God. I'm sorry about this – and I don't want to have to outline the reasons why,” Hvastkovs wrote.

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“The professor instituted a self-imposed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy when it comes to religion in a classroom, and students came to really upset that the professor was not allowing them to really acknowledge and thank […] people and God, for instance, during this time of celebration,” Campus Reform editor-in-chief Caleb Bonham told Megyn Kelly.

Hvastkovs told Campus Reform that the event is not a religious ceremony and is “purely educational.”

“The students were not looking to use this as an opportunity to get up there and proselytize to a captive audience, they wanted to instead deflect the attention on themselves to a higher power […] they wanted to thank God, and the professor wanted to instead force his own agenda onto the students and not allow them to do so,” Bonham said.

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The school denounced the professor’s ban.

Watch Bonham's full interview above.