Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Along with Nathan Berkeley, I have a short piece up at National Review, about the ongoing campaign of some members of Congress against Baylor University. Here, in a nutshell, is what's going on:
In a September 5 letter to the U.S. Department of Education, five members of Congress led by Representative Adam Schiff (along with Representatives Greg Casar, Joaquin Castro, Mark Takano, and Veronica Escobar) objected to “Baylor University’s claim to an exemption from Title IX’s regulations prohibiting sexual harassment . . .” and urged “the Department to clarify the narrow scope of this exemption.” Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal financial assistance.
In addition to calling for greater scrutiny of the scope of Baylor’s religious exemption, they also challenged the school’s fundamental eligibility for a Title IX exemption in light of allegations that “[Baylor] is no longer controlled by a religious organization.” The ideology driving this inquiry threatens Baylor’s religious freedom and that of many other religious institutions in America.
And, here is a bit of our take:
While showing genuine respect across differences must be a commitment we all make in our pluralistic society, people should not be able to use their identity to impose moral demands on the religious institutions they voluntarily enter into. And yet, that is precisely what Congressman Schiff and his colleagues are demanding on behalf of dissenting students.
Like so many American elites, these congressional representatives are so preoccupied with ensuring diversity within institutions that they fail to see the immense value in safeguarding diversity among institutions. Policy-makers should promote genuine pluralism within American higher education rather than using heavy-handed regulations to impose uniformity in this vital sector. In numerous ways, as one of us argued recently, our highly diverse society needs a diverse array of colleges and universities.
The mission of Baylor University is “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.” In a world increasingly awash with identity claims, Baylor’s identity matters, too.