Monday, November 15, 2004

UWEC "Governed like an autocratic emirate."

Some new commentary on the religious service learning ban is now available at the FreeUWEC site. This piece sheds some light on last Tuesday's University Senate hearing on the proposed ban.
The legal counsel for the UW System has advised the University to adopt this ban on religious instruction. If the University permits these kinds of projects to be approved during this period of deliberation, and if the University faces a lawsuit as a result, it will not have the support of the State of Wisconsin in court. If, however, the University provisionally abides by this ban while it is being debated, and if the University faces a lawsuit for discrimination, the State of Wisconsin will back it up in court.

Even if I do not agree with the proposed ban, I respect the University’s decision to abide by its own legal counsel while this decision is debated. However, should the University not demand a cogently written, thoroughly argued legal brief from the UW-System, one that critiques the logic of the letter from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and sets forward more compelling arguments from the Supreme Court for advancing this ban?

If the University is compelled to stand with System Legal, then let System Legal commit its position to writing. Don’t call the Senate on the phone and give them verbal assurances of the rightness of your cause. State your case in writing. All the Senators are literate and sensible.

Failing this step, System Legal is patronizing the Senate and jeopardizing the University by saying, “You senators don’t need to think this one through. Just take our word for it.”

It seems that at least one of the senators feels that the statement from the ACLJ should be discounted because the ACLJ is (gasp!) "partisan" and "conservative."

Unfortunately, System Legal has yet to present any sort of cogent legal argument against allowing religious service learning projects. Their legal advice boils down to "because we said so, that's why."

(Previous posts on the issue here, here, here, and here.)


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