Friday, October 30, 2015
Here is a thoughtful piece, by Elizabeth Corey, on "Diversity in the Christian University." Here's a taste:
. . . Perhaps the greatest benefit of actual diversity across a university, for both faculty and students, would be the modeling of a certain kind of political relationship. If a faculty is diverse—not just demographically, but also politically and intellectually—and can nevertheless work together without characterizing opponents as enemies, then it might offer something that contemporary politics does not. This would consist in a kind of civil discourse that acknowledges profound disagreement but also seeks compromises where they may be found and respects all participants as equals.
It’s easy enough to talk about this ideal, but much harder to put into practice. It requires, at minimum, candid conversations with people you’re not inclined to agree with. . . .
. . . Moreover, within a Christian university, the legitimate goods of diversity must be balanced against a notion of unity, an idea of the particular “constitution” of a place—its heritage, its tradition, and the constituency it serves. Even while we embrace aspects of diversity, Christian schools must be bold enough to say that we prioritize a certain kind of particularity and difference from our many secular competitors. Perhaps the most effective contribution that a self-consciously Christian university can make to the sum total good of diversity is merely to be what we are. Thus, the confessional requirements of Christian schools are not a hindrance but an asset. Not everyone will feel perfectly comfortable working for, or attending, such a university, but that has traditionally been why distinct kinds of schools exist: historically black colleges, women’s and men’s colleges, large state universities, community colleges, small liberal arts colleges and many varieties of Christian institutions. . . .
Read the whole thing.