Call for a national forum on academic freedom

Leo Charbonneau, University Affairs, Jun 08, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Christian Higher Education Canada is calling for a national forum to discuss academic freedom. This comes on the heels of a Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) investigation of Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, which was found to violate the academic freedom provisions of CAUT. The question is, narrowly, whether academic freedom can exist within the bounds of statements of faith and conduct. More significant, in my view, is the question of whether such statements of faith and conduct can be requirements for employment generally. How would these same advocates respond were secular universities demand that no Christians be hired for academic positions? Freedom of conscience is a fundamental value in a democracy, and proponents of faith-based hiring ought to be careful about exceptions to that principle that can run both ways.
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