What Happened? Academic Freedom at a Christian College, Chico State’s Diversity Action Plan, Counseling Student Opposed by ACLU
Since I teach at a Christian college, of particular interest to me are the following paragraphs from this NAS article.
Shortly over a year ago, the Canadian equivalent of the AAUP, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) issued a report stating that Christian colleges and universities that have a statement of faith as a condition of employment deny academic freedom to their faculty members. The report was specifically directed at Trinity Western University in British Columbia, a private institution that openly declares its Christian mission. NAS noted at the time that, unlike the CAUT, the AAUP has made provisions for schools with religious aims in its declarations on academic freedom.
Since then CAUT has issued reports on Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg and Crandall University in New Brunswick. Now it has set its sights on Redeemer University College in Ontario. The National Post reports that Redeemer has refused to cooperate with CAUT’s investigation but “has invited the CAUT to an open and honest philosophical discussion about differing paradigms of academic freedom and the relation of faith to learning.” According to the National Post, there have been no complaints at Redeemer or the other colleges over the institutions’ statements of faith.
Redeemer’s president, Hubert Krygsman, told the Post, “It’s a definition of academic freedom that says it cannot be faith-based. So by definition any faith-based approach strikes them as contrary to their definition. All of the other findings are really fodder for their own beliefs. It’s certainly an attempt by whatever public suasion they might have to give Christian schools a black mark.”
In response to the discrimination against Canadian Christian colleges, faculty members of these institutions are signing a statement in protest. As of yesterday, the statement had 225 signatures.
Read the whole article. Who knows? Perhaps the AAUP will make similar moves in the US. Can Christian Colleges require a Statement of Faith without denying academic freedom? This is a question that I fear far too few Christian college professors and administrators have adequately pondered. A major crucial question, of course, must be, what does academic freedom entail?