The occasional flaps between professors at Roman Catholic institutions and the bishops in their dioceses often hinge on whether allegiance to church orthodoxy trumps the free spirit of inquiry celebrated in academe. The church’s efforts to strike a balance between those two sometimes-competing values will soon be brought to the forefront again, as bishops begin a formal review of how well colleges are upholding their Catholic identities.
I had lunch this summer with a prospective graduate student at the evangelical college where I teach. I will call him John because that happens to be his name. John has done well academically at a public university. Nevertheless, as often happens, he said that he was looking forward to coming to a Christian university, and then launched into a story of religious discrimination.
W. King Mott, associate professor of political science and gender studies at Seton Hall University, clearly has earned respect from colleagues at the Roman Catholic institution. He has tenure. He recently finished a term as chair of the Faculty Senate. He served on the search committee for a new president.
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state could not spend $10 million to build a pharmacy school at the University of the Cumberlands, a Baptist institution, because doing so would violate the state Constitution's ban on support for religious institutions. The university responded by announcing that it was calling off plans to create the pharmacy school.