U-Wisc Eau Claire's Bible Study ban comes under fire.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire is reviewing a directive that banned resident assistants from holding Bible studies in their dorms.Last July, the university's associate director for Housing and Residence Life sent a letter saying that if RAs lead Bible studies, students might not find them "approachable" or might fear they'd be "judged or pushed in a direction that does not work for them."The letter added that RAs who persist in holding Bible studies would face "disciplinary action."The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education protested, calling the directive a "shameful attack on freedom of religion."A university spokesman said the policy is under review and may be broadened to forbid political and ideological as well as religious activities.
Oh great. So, let's say, a student comes to U-Wisc Eau Claire from a rather rural, backward part of, say, the American South, and has a particular opinion of, say minority races. And has to sit through a workshop on racial diversity and inclusion. Oh my friggin word! He might be "judged or pushed in a direction that does not work for him!" A fortiriori, say, a U-101 class on diversity that, say, suggests that he should not just be civil towards, but fully accept gay and lesbian students, including all their sexual choices, because, after all, we're very tolerant.
And, when criticized, their response is to think about banning even more speech? Let's dial-up the thought police, and make sure students don't have a single Intolerant thought. If they do, zap 'em!
[Don't get me wrong: I obviously don't think it's ok to discriminate against gays or lesbians or racial minorities. Just trying to suggest that in such environments, there is no "neutral" position. There's always some kind of "approved speech," stemming from a particular political agenda. After all, suggesting that a Bible Study might make an RA unapproachable implies that Bible Studies are Bad For Students. And, after all these years spent in a University environment one realizes that University Housing tends to be, well, rather liberal, in a Republic of Cambridge kind of way. And besides, what was all that about a University being a place where there's a free exchange of ideas? Oh, that's only true if it means the Properly Approved Ideas. Sorry.]
::Clarification:: (as requested in the combox). Yep, I was being stereotypical with the example of the rural, conservative, Southern student. Perhaps it was unnecessary, but, it does represent a stereotype common in the "elite circles" of Universities.