Academic freedom at Trinity Western?

CAUT attacks Christian “faith test” for profs.

By most accounts, Trinity Western University, located in the Vancouver suburb Langley, is a respected member of the Canadian university community. It’s long enjoyed the rubber stamp of approval that is being a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, an organization that fills the vacuum created by Canada’s lack of formal university accreditation. In 2004, the provincial government exempted the school from “detailed reviews of its degree programs,” making Trinity Western the fourth member of an elite club of west coast universities alongside the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University. In fact, having been opened in 1962, the school is one year older than UVic. Trinity Western is also home to three research chairs and boasts over $1 million in annual research funding, impressive for a relatively small institution.

Related: The end of the religious university? Also see: TWU in its own words: special no-straw edition

Despite Trinity Western University’s (TWU) near universal acceptance as a full-fledged university, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)—a union of sorts, representing faculty associations across the county, that has fought sometimes controversial fights over academic freedom since 1951—placed TWU on its blacklist of universities that violate academic freedom in October, effectively calling into question the school’s dedication to the very heart of what it is to be a university. According to a CAUT report, because TWU—which describes itself as “a faith-based institution, one inspired by Christ’s life and guided by his teachings”—submits its faculty to what CAUT calls a “faith test,” it is violating academic freedom.

The controversial faith test consists of a “Statement of Faith” that professors are required to sign annually and that outlines the “philosophical framework to which all faculty, staff and administration are committed without reservation.” It includes a list of convictions to which professors must assert to subscribe, including belief in the bible, in one infinitely perfect god, that Jesus Christ was a real man, and in “the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord, of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.”

To CAUT, the Statement of Faith clearly demonstrates that TWU does not accept the standard definition of academic freedom. They consider universities to have violated academic freedom if they “seek to ensure an ideologically or religiously homogeneous academic staff,” which clearly includes TWU.

James Turk, executive director of CAUT, says that his organization is only sharing with the world what TWU is, not outright denying their right to existence as a university. Yet, Jonathan Raymond, TWU president, is taking CAUT’s actions very seriously. “Such an allegation can easily damage the reputation of a university and place a cloud over the scholarship of its faculty,” Raymond wrote in a recent response to CAUT’s report.

The whole dispute comes down to the definition of a cornerstone of the modern university: academic freedom. In Raymond’s view, TWU’s definition is comfortably mainstream, and that it is possible to have investigation and teaching within the context of a stated perspective. The academic calendar at TWU goes so far as to reject a definition of academic freedom that denies an established perspective: “Trinity Western University rejects as incompatible with human nature and relevational theism a definition of academic freedom which arbitrarily and exclusively requires pluralism without commitment, denies the existence of any fixed points of reference, maximizes the quest for truth to the extent of assuming it is never knowable, and implies an absolute freedom from moral and religious responsibility to its community.” In other words, the university rejects relativism, which many academics would say is incompatible with the primary role of a university.

“When a person is hired, all universities make judgments in terms of hiring them to be consistent with the mission of the institution,” Raymond said in an interview with Maclean’s. “Once they’re hired, the institution is absolutely obligated to protect their academic freedom. But all universities have criterion for gathering a scholarly community in support of their mission.” So TWU differs in that its mission is to be a Christian university, but once that community of like-minded academics is established, free inquiry can thrive.

So can true academic freedom exist at a Christian university? Can real debate happen within an assumed set of values? CAUT would say no. The conventional understanding of academic freedom, according to CAUT’s policy, is “the right, without restriction by prescribed doctrine, to freedom of teaching and discussion; freedom in carrying out research… [emphasis theirs]” According to this view of academic freedom, accepting anything as absolute truth without reservation runs counter to the pursuit of knowledge faculty engage in.

The core issue, according to Turk, is not that Christian beliefs are part of the mission of the university, but that those beliefs appear to come before everything else. The report points to TWU’s own claims of being a “disciple-making academic community” and “an arm of the Church” where “all teaching, learning, thinking, and scholarship take place under the direction of the Bible, the wholly authoritative and truthful Word of God.”

“No university should be the arm of any institution,” Turk said. “A university shouldn’t be the arm of the Church or the arm of state or the arm of a special interest group. The very nature of a university should not be to make disciples.”

But although CAUT argues that TWU’s understanding of academic freedom and the role of a university are outside the norm, TWU throws that accusation right back, saying that CAUT’s definition is the abnormal one. “Why do I say it’s marginal?” asks Raymond, explaining that the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has a very different definition of academic freedom. “Here’s the difference: in the AUCC, and in the counterpart institutions down in the States, academic freedom has to be superintended and worked out within the autonomy of a given university. CAUT’s definition ignores the idea of autonomy.”

Turk, on the other hand, says that the AUCC should rethink TWU’s membership. “AUCC simply has not respected its own rules in admitting Trinity Western,” he said. “It has not upheld its own commitment to academic freedom.”

Glen A. Jones, Ontario Research Chair on post-secondary education policy and associate dean at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, says that while CAUT’s definition is much closer to the traditional Canadian understanding of academic freedom, TWU is right to point to the United States. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP)—which is similar to CAUT—is the go-to organization for American court cases dealing with academic freedom. In its famous declaration of academic freedom, AAUP was forced to include an opt out accepting limitations of academic freedom at religious institutions as long as they were laid out at the time of appointment, which TWU clearly does with its Statement of Faith. Nevertheless, Canada’s post-secondary system was built on secular education, Jones said, so limitations on academic freedom are not commonly accepted here.

Raymond points out that CAUT is not responding to any specific complaint of a violation of academic freedom. In fact, he claims, there hasn’t been any such complaint in the university’s entire history. Rather he believes that CAUT is attacking TWU arbitrarily for being a Christian institution. “The CAUT report itself found no occasion of academic freedom [violations] outside the fact that we are a Christian university chartered by the province as such.”

CAUT wasn’t investigating specific complaints, rather the way institutions are structured, Turk says. “It may not be surprising that there are no academic freedom complaints within their restricted definition when they don’t allow anybody in the door who disagrees with them.”

CAUT does indeed appear to be targeting Christian schools, as TWU is certainly not the only one—just the first. Investigations of “faith tests” at other universities are in the works, including the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Crandall University in Moncton (formerly the Atlantic Baptist University) and Redeemer University College in Ancaster.

But one gets the feeling that Turk and CAUT wouldn’t stop with Christian schools. “Academic freedom can’t be bounded by a particular ideology. It would be like a university saying that we’re a Marxist university and unless you’re a Marxist, you can’t teach here.”




Browse

Academic freedom at Trinity Western?

  1. What this story fails to mention is Trinity Western University’s academic excellence.

    For four years straight, TWU has achieved the highest rating, an A+, in quality of education in The Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report, making TWU the ONLY Canadian university to receive this distinction. TWU also received the highest ratings for most satisfied students, student-faculty interaction, teaching, class size, ease of course registration, campus atmosphere, and academic reputation.

    In addition, Macleans ranked TWU #1 in Canada for “Enriching Educational Experience,” based on their compilation of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). TWU also ranked as one of the top five Canadian schools in five of the six NSSE categories.

  2. Do they grant SCIENCE degrees at this Place?

  3. Percy: Yes, they do grant science degrees.

    Marilyn: I think the first paragraph of this article clearly describes Trinity Western as a well-respected academic institution. Quality is not the issue here, academic freedom is something else.

  4. Looking at CAUT skewering TWU is overlooking the role that political correctness plays in the more-influential hiring decisions made quietly everywhere within faculties as they’re checking out publications, references, ratemyprofessor.com, and titillating gossip. Subtle, subtle, but the filters are carefully pulled down to exclude neo-conservatives, Israel-sympathizers, pro-military, pro-life, pro-American, anti-gay, etc, etc…

  5. So let me see if I have this correct. CAUT is pointing the finger at TWU because the University (which I attended) subscribes to an absolute rather than the relativism that CAUT, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, described here within the above article as a “union of sorts”, deems to be integral to academic education. First of all, academics are not relative in themselves. There are some cold, hard absolutes within mathematics, chemistry, physics etc.

    Relativism, in my opinion, is eroding the human population’s ability to make a decision, take ownership of that decision, and be productive in our society. If on the University level we are to be taught that everything is subjective, that we should have pliable principles, and that we should accept all hypothesis as they could be correct is to kill the opinion of the individual and homogenize the intelligence of society.

    If you don’t want to sign the Faith Statement because you do not believe or agree with the Christian faith that is your opinion and your right; don’t sign it and don’t teach or attend the school. There are plenty of other universities at which you can do both. You would not expect to sell or be sold hamburgers at an ice cream parlour and would not raise such grievance. So why, and by whose right, does the Canadian Association of University Teachers bring a grievance against TWU.

    The fact is TWU is a highly rated and successful school. It produces like-minded “disciples” as does any university institution as they are being taught to think a certain way whether outwardly admitting it, as TWU does, or not.

    In bringing TWU’s Faith Statement “injustice” to light CAUT is self-proclaiming to not discredit the University’s excellence. What they are doing is essentially screaming that TWU should conform and that they are not playing fairly. Really? C’mon now; no one likes a tattle tale especially when the injustice suffered is not unjust.

    Because I shared that I was a student at this school those who read my opinion on this article may deem my passionate response to be because of my spiritual belief or patriotism to the school. I assure you it is not. I haven’t been to Church in years, am currently questioning my faith in God, and although am glad I attended Trinity and received my BA from there I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the school, like any other, is not perfect. I do want to share that from my experience the teachers who taught at TWU valued individual thought and exploration. They challenged us on what we believed or what we thought was to be the “right answer”. They did not stuff down our throats a doctrine by which we were all to live and breath but rather encouraged us to learn it and make it our own should we wish. If any of us came to the conclusion that we could no longer uphold the Faith Statement we were free to leave and live in integrity with our beliefs.

  6. “CAUT’s policy, is “the right, without restriction by prescribed doctrine, to freedom of teaching and discussion; freedom in carrying out research… [emphasis theirs]” According to this view of academic freedom, accepting anything as absolute truth without reservation runs counter to the pursuit of knowledge faculty engage in.”

    Most public universities subcribe to a religion of humanism, environmentalism and relativism. Freedom of discussion? Look at the Uvic pro-life groups problem. No freedom of discussion allowed as it did not conform to the *accepted standards*. It can be difficult to even get a reasonable mark in class if you do not adhere to the *values* of the secular university mindset. TWU offers an alternative to those who would find themselves marginalized in such institutions. Clearly they offer a quality education and a choice for both parents and students, and a high quality education. .

  7. Pingback: The Relativist Crusade On Christian Universities « Unambiguously Ambidextrous

  8. It’s a myth that all the other universities are not themselves characterized by a dominant religious ideology. They are; it’s called Gnosticism. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have to swear an oath of Gnosticism at the mainstream institutions, nor that many faculty members have other private faith convictions, nor that most university faculty don’t have much of an idea what modern Gnosticism is (as it has been conceived in the school of thought that flows from the work of Eric Voegelin). But within the world view that informs the various conceptions of expert knowledge, political activism, and indeed “intellectual freedom”, in the humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences, Gnosticism is predominant; and hiring and grading reflects that dominance. The war against Christianity is very much in this vein.

    I’m a bit puzzled how Glen A. Jones has come to the conclusion that “Canada’s post-secondary system was built on secular education.” In fact most universities in Ontario and the east begin as religious institutions, as one of their primary roles was to train clergy. If Jones would cross Bloor St. and check out the U of T campus, he would see that most of the colleges/universities in the U of T federation have religious origins. The modernist rebellion against Christianity, of which OISE is a fine example, is, broadly speaking, Gnostic.

  9. The secular, after all, is just another form of the sacred; anthropologically, all humans are bound by relationships to some kinds of sacralized centres/scenes of shared attention on which presence and transcendence are figured. Relativism and postmodern deconstruction try to overcome this inevitability, deconstructing every form of the sacred as an arbitrary grab for power; but this only leads to a queer mix of nihilism and Utopianism that obscures the basis of the human in our inescapable need to figure transcendence. More to the point, it leads to professors who still wish to be paid for occupying the centre of atttention in the lecture hall, while they pretend to be deconstructing and denouncing all “power” centres. They fail to see that this is what all dictators do (they don’t claim authority in their own right but as our saviours fighting the oppressive Other). This denouncing the other’s centrality as a function of one’s own claim to academic authority and “intellectual freedom” is inherently dishonest, if not always consciously so; in any case, it leads to a kind of narcissistic personality that thinks it is just and righteous to denounce the Christian presence at some small institution; but those so busy denouncing such “privileged” centrality fail to see the basis of their own as equally religious.

  10. Pingback: The secular left takes aim at Canadian Christian universities « Wintery Knight

  11. Pingback: Relativism – it’s always been a christian and right wing trait too. « voice from the pack

  12. Pingback: Lets look at academic freedom within a religious learning environment « voice from the pack

  13. I thought the whole point of going to university was to expand narrow thinking (of whatever variety) and to be in a miliue where one could/must contemplate new ideas.
    TWU’s academic excellence doesn’t matter.
    I would never hire a graduate from Trinity whatever their academic record.
    I would assume they were a Bible-thumper with little knowledge of the real world.
    Let TWU hire who they want. Let them administer their ‘faith tests’. Just let me hire who I want … and it won’t be one of their graduates.
    Don’t accuse me of being discrimatory … they’ve already done that by their hiring practices.

  14. TWU’s academic excellence matters a lot.

  15. It is interesting that groups like CAUT are working to destroy Christian values in this country while at the same time these values are enshrined in our Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    I suspect the CAUT are in violation of these documents and their efforts should be taken as a direct assault on Christain beliefs and the right to practice our creed. I’ll have to check, but I suspect CAUT is in violation of the Human Rights Tribunals across Canada.
    The fact that CAUT has an “academic freedom,” stance matters not; this stance cannot violate Canadian Law! The fact that CAUT has “blacklisted” TWC demonstrates it’s bias against Christians.

  16. I find it interesting that no one seems to care about the academic freedom of the institution to determine its focus and character. Trinity’s academic freedom is at least as important as the academic freedom of the academics working there. If the school acted to prevent people who don’t sign the Statement of Faith from working at other institutions that would indeed be a problem, but that’s not the case.

    On an aside, people might be interested to learn that what is taught and discussed at Trinity would be considered liberal in many, if not most, mainstream Evangelical churches. Evangelicalism isn’t any more monolithic than Catholicism, Islam or the New Democratic Party. So, contra Marushka, Trinity does indeed broaden the horizons of its students a great deal.

    On another aside, isn’t refusing point blank to hire a student from a university as a protest against what the administration requires of faculty a bit like jailing a child because his father stole a car? I accuse you of ignorance before I accused you of discrimination.

  17. Excellent comments, especially @John of CovenantZone, and I think I understand all of them. I would like to summarize the pattern I interpret in these comments as thus with a question:

    What if the specific CAUT people who launched this attack on TWU are (and have been for a very long time) holding grudges against Christianity or the like and are completely unaware of it? I think most can understand that the longer anger and hurt goes unchecked, the more it poison’s one’s perception of reality. Basically I think how it works is you’ll get angst-motivated assaults due to a twisted interpretation of minute details.

    I don’t think I’ve listened to one atheist or secularist who did not invoke the dirty laundry of Christianity (the crusades, boarding schools, etc.) entirely on their own accord. To this my question is, why the focus on this negativity? How does this establish a sound position? I think opposition is useless on its own, but a position supported by positive facts is worth putting stock into.

    However, in terms of relativist secularist Atheism, the attitude seems to be:
    “It’s not it not it not it not it! (but I have no idea what IS it)”

    Therefore 100% opposition and 0% position. I’m just not going to put stock in that.

    Although my faith is also in a state of flux, and I currently choose not to identify as a Christian, I fail to see the point of becoming Atheist or Agnostic.

  18. Pingback: Christians, beware … the Left is out to get you. « Sleepy Old Bear Diaries

  19. Someone asked about science at TWU. Yes, we have courses and degree programs in chemistry, biology, environmental studies, physics, mathematics, computing science, nursing, and many of our students go on to graduate, medical and professional schools. See http://www.twu.ca/academics/science . One of our biology professors, Dr. Eve Stringham, is featured here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLGx5vHDeg4 . See also http://www.twu.ca/academics/research/conscientia-magazine/conscientia-2009.pdf . We (faculty and students) are not interested in simplistic answers, but dig deep into the nature of created reality.

    Arnold Sikkema, PhD
    Associate Professor of Physics
    Trinity Western University

  20. The assertion that it is the duty of a true university to embrace “relativism” cannot be taken seriously. I have never met a relativist in my lifetime thus far. Those who attack a religious university are clearly stating an absolute (anti-relativist) preference for any truth that does not fit Christian orthodoxy. A true relativist would most likely tolerate the existence of different universities with different perspectives; Christianity at least would get a hearing in this regime. Instead, the so-called relativists who are badgering religious schools are showing about as much tolerance for different perspectives as Marcuse when he called for the end of “repressive tolerance” in favor of enlightened censorship of politically incorrect views.

    Dr. Grant Havers
    Chair, Department of Philosophy
    TWU

  21. RE Jesse’s comment: “isn’t refusing … to hire a student from a university as a protest against what the administration requires of faculty a bit like jailing a child because his father stole a car?”

    What a strange analogy! It’s more like refusing to hire a child from a family who insists on teaching the child to steal cars, so the child believes [by prescribed doctrine] that car theft is good. And that family refuses to hire anyone from outside its belief system who might teach the child that car theft may not be desireable.

    Ideally, the child would be able to chose to go to a university that would challenge his/her belief system as well as intellect.

    RE Greg’s comment: “I suspect CAUT is in violation of the Human Rights Tribunals across Canada.”

    In fact, TWU is in violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act which states:
    3. (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.

    So TWU should have to hire a lesbian wiccan or atheist were she academically qualified to teach at university level in her discipline, without her having to sign a ‘faith statement’.

    TWU should be designated as a university-level institution, but not as a university. That designation should be reserved for non-denominational institutions of higher learning, and/or those who are willing to hire academics of all faiths or no faith at all.

    But then I’m just an ignoramus with a BA from UBC and an MA from SFU … and neither my father nor I are car thieves.

  22. I’m glad to report that University Affairs, the main journal for everyone involved with higher education in Canada, published my critique of the CAUT report and my defense of the sort of education offered at TWU. As someone who has graduated from both secular universities (Queen’s, Chicago) and a Christian college (Wheaton), and who has taught at both kinds of schools (University of Manitoba, Northwestern College, and Regent College), I believe in both kinds of education and believe they both deserve public support.

    The argument is here: http://www.universityaffairs.ca/caut-versus-trinity-western.aspx

  23. Marushka writes:

    “Let TWU hire who they want. Let them administer their ‘faith tests’. Just let me hire who I want … and it won’t be one of their graduates.”

    then Marushka writes:

    “In fact, TWU is in violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act which states:
    3. (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.
    So TWU should have to hire a lesbian wiccan or atheist were she academically qualified to teach at university level in her discipline, without her having to sign a ‘faith statement’.”

    then Marushka writes:

    “I’m just an ignoramus with a BA from UBC and an MA from SFU.”

    At least s/he is honest. Troll.

  24. I would require an employee to sign a statement that s/he is an ignoramus, with a university degree from anywhere except a faith-based institution. Or perhaps a car thief who signs a statement that they won’t steal anything anymore.

  25. Contradicting yourself much, Marushka?

    Also:

    “Ideally, the child would be able to chose to go to a university that would challenge his/her belief system as well as intellect.”

    If you knew anything about TWU you would know that they do in fact challenge both their student’s belief systems, as well as their intellect. You would also know that Trinity Western accepts any students willing to attend, with no requirements as to their religious status (shocking I know, imagine Christians being open minded enough to teach Muslims, Hindus, Atheists et cetera!). Maybe you should do your homework, or actually visit the institution you discriminate against before making outrageous judgements on their students.

  26. The issue is not which students TWU accepts, it’s what teachers they are willing to hire. Of course a Christian college would welcome Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Atheist, etc. students … partially in order to introduce them to and possibly convert them to their Christian values.

    I have no problem with Christian values. I was raised with Christian values. I have a problem with an institute of higher learning that calls itself a university but requires its teachers to sign a Statement of Faith (i.e. their version of a particular Christian ideology).

    Would a Catholic be able to sign TWU’s Statement of Faith?

  27. TWU is attached to a Catholic college. (Redeemer Pacific College, or RPC). Many Trinity students go back and forth between the two, studying at both institutions.

  28. Marushka wrote:
    “Would a Catholic be able to sign TWU’s Statement of Faith?”

    Redeemer Pacific is a Roman Catholic college on the grounds of TWU (or maybe just bordering it, I forget which). Students from either school can incorporate into their degrees classes from either school, and without any of the bureaucratic wrangling normally required for credit transfers. So whatever it is the faculty have to sign, there is obviously room for evangelicals and Catholics alike.

    But it’s not like the faculty at TWU are exclusively evangelical fideists (or whatever it is you imagine them to be). You’ll find ascetics and mystics, Western charismatics and Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Baptists, Mennonites, Anglicans… And, as with many experienced Christians, you’ll find that each holds a very rich and unique combination of doctrinal stances informed by the same canon of literary and philosophical works explored in secular institutions, the deep history of Christian thought, and the other faiths brought to campus by students, guest speakers, and in faculty members’ own personal histories. The same thoughtfulness and tolerance is strongly encouraged in the student body as well. So, no. The Statement of Faith can be and is certainly interpreted with enough diversity that TWU avoids creating an ideological echo chamber.

    As to whether non-Christians are allowed on the faculty, I simply suggest that they probably wouldn’t want to be, not because of any antagonism they’d face while at TWU, but because the school is very clear and public about the community’s intellectual commitments. This happens in all kinds of social situations. If you think football is the most amazing and exciting sport on Earth, but signed up for a recreational shuffleboard league instead of one of the many football clubs available, nobody would stop you, but they might wonder why you made such a choice. When hiring, you want to know that the employee is well suited to the position, but also that the position suits the applicant. I’d wager that TWU would consider hiring any non-Christian that could make a strong case as to why they’d be better off at TWU than at any of the secular schools in the Vancouver area.

  29. Marushka, do you discriminate against all people or just against Christians? You say you grew up with Christian values so are you sure your vision is not simply clouded by negative pubescent experiences or perhaps anger towards your parents? Clearly you may have some repressed issues that you need to work through and if so, you may be in need of therapy (or God?).

  30. WOW Marushka, you are such a learned man! You have a BA and a MA! You should bring your section 3 (1) argument forward to the courts and unveil this golden nugget of truth so Canadians see that Trinity is in violation. Or you can put your literacy and critical thinking skills to work and maybe ask yourself…self: Could Trinity, a school of around 4000 people exist if it was actually violating the human rights code? It is not like the courts are unaware of our existence, we have won cases on the supreme court level! Anyway, read section 41 of the human rights code of B.C. It is an exemption to your section three comment above, it writes:

    “Where a charitable, philanthropic, educational, fraternal, religious or social organization or corporation that is not operated for profit has as a primary purpose the promotion of the interests and welfare of an identifiable group or class of persons characterized by a physical or mental disability or by a common race, religion, age, sex, marital status, political belief, colour, ancestry or place of origin, that organization or group shall not be considered as contravening this Code because it is granting a preference to members of the identifiable group or class of persons.”

    Wow, maybe you should not get so emotionally involved in the argument that you spout off untrue facts. It discredits many of the statements you make now….. this is embarrassing now for you I guess…. You pretend like you knew Canadian law then you stated you were just “an ignoramus with a BA from UBC and an MA from.” Maybe you really are hahaha. Sorry .

  31. “…placed TWU on its blacklist of universities that violate academic freedom in October…”

    Shucks, I guess Trinity can’t be part of CAUT’s super cool club.

  32. Does Section 41 of the BC Human Rights Code trump Sect 3(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act? If so, it seems British Columbians can all happily discrimintate against whomever they please (with appropriate excuses, of course).

    Isn’t that special!

  33. As a biology professor and researcher for over 27 years, I have had more “academic freedom” to teach and discuss both Jesus and Darwin at a Christian-based university than at the secular universities and settings. Keep up the good work TWU!

  34. you got it! they can discriminate against people under that exemption. Think about it if we were to follow 3(1) the definition that was posted firefighters couldn’t discriminate against blind people wanting to apply. These types of exemptions exist in every province obviously.

  35. Pingback: Academic Freedom and Religious Statements of Faith? « Journal of Human Flourishing

  36. Pingback: Margin Notes | A test of faith at Trinity Western | University Affairs

  37. Having attended TWU and UVIC I can definitely there’s a lot more academic freedom going on at good ol’ TWU. At UVIC you’re only free to join the masses of socialist professors falling over each other in a vain effort to secure a little patch of real estate in the leftest wing of the ivory tower. The “tolerant” “relativist” “academic freedom” at UVIC is the narrowest straight-jacket I can imagine. Just being able to spell c-o-n-s-e-r-v-a-t-i-v-e would get you laughed out of contention for a professorship. Having been here for a year and a half I’ve slowly rooted out a couple profs with very private religious convictions – but they keep their heads down – way down. Where’s their academic freedom?

    Mainstream universities mantra of secular scholarship has no monopoly on neutrality. It’s more “absolute” and more of an impediment to academic freedom that any affirmation of faith a T-Dub prof is required to sign.

    Oh, and what about the academic freedom to affiliate yourself with an institution that resonates with your personal worldview?

  38. Doesn’t condemning a faith based institution take away the academic freedom of those professors (and students) who have freely chosen to work there? Does no one see the terrible hypocrisy here? CAUT says ‘we think there should be academic freedom in Canada’s universities…so you religious groups should no longer have the freedom to operate within academia as you like’.

    It might do well for CAUT to remember that the whole conception of an academic university was originated (by and large, with some exceptions) by Christians, seeking to educate people. Not that this is particularly relevant to the current debate, but really, don’t bite the hand that feeds.

  39. Pingback: The Relativist Crusade On Christian Universities | Unambiguously Ambidextrous

  40. Pingback: Should religious universities force staff to sign a Statement of Faith? Canadians don’t think so

  41. Pingback: Canadian Mennonite University latest to be placed on CAUT’s faith test list | Studies.me

  42. Pingback: CAUT places Canadian Mennonite University on faith test list | Studies.me

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *