Trinity Western University, Canada’s largest privately-funded Christian university, will no longer require students to sign a Community Covenant agreeing to abstain from same-sex and other relationships outside marriage between a man and a woman.
The top-ranked university, which enrolls about 4,000 students annually, announced on Tuesday its decision to scrap mandatory agreement to the covenant as part of the admissions process. The decision was made at a recent meeting of its Board of Governors.
“In furtherance of our desire to maintain TWU as a thriving community of Christian believers that is inclusive of all students wishing to learn from a Christian viewpoint and underlying philosophy, the Community Covenant will no longer be mandatory as of the 2018-19 Academic year with respect to admission of students to, or continuation of students at, the University,” the board said in a motion cited by university President Robert G. Kuhn.
A university spokesperson told CBC that while students will no longer be required to sign the covenant, faculty, staff and administrators will still have to sign it.
The decision comes some two months after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the denial of accreditation to the university’s proposed law school due to concerns about the covenant and discrimination against LGBTQ students. The court found that in denying Trinity Western’s proposed law school accreditation, the Law Society of Upper Canada “was entitled to conclude that equal access to the legal profession, diversity within the bar, and preventing harm to LGBTQ law students were all within the scope of its duty to uphold the public interest,” Inside Higher Ed noted.
Michael Mulligan, an attorney who pushed for a special vote to overturn the British Columbia Law Society’s original decision to accredit TWU, called the school’s decision “a very positive move.”
He noted that if teachers and staff at the proposed law school are still required to sign the covenant, it could still pose a threat to accreditation.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair