It’s back. Well, okay, it never went away. Apparently, Trinity Western University’s homophobic, faith-based code of conduct still chafes.
Nine years after the BC College of Teachers took Trinity Western University to the Supreme Court of Canada (and lost), another group is picking a fight.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is the latest group to take issue with the Christian school’s code of conduct (CoC). They also point to an excerpt from the school’s calendar that says “all teaching, learning, thinking and scholarship take place under the direction of the Bible.”
Their point? Trin’s policies fall below the standard of academic freedom typically associated with an academic institution. So says the CAUT report. Zing!
It’s an interesting argument. In the previous case, the BC College of Teachers didn’t want to recognize teaching credentials earned at Trinity Western because they feared the teachers would spread anti-gay bigotry in the classroom. (The Supreme Court didn’t buy the inference.)
The policy stops short of banning gay people from becoming staff or students. It just bans gay behaviour. Even so, the faith pledge is an uncomfortable reality for faculty, staff and students who are associated with the school. In its factum on the 2001 Supreme Court case, Egale Canada wrote:
"Requiring someone not to act in accordance with their identity is harmful and cruel. It destroys the human spirit. Pressure to change their behaviour and deny their sexual identity has proved tremendously damaging to young persons seeking to come to terms with their sexual orientation."
The last time, civil liberties groups, including the BCCLA, sided with Trin. Trinity Western may be gross (the school itself is also known for training Conservative hacks), but we should tolerate them the way they tolerate us. We'll see how things shake out this time.