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This article was published 14/3/2012 (1986 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
CANADA'S national professors' union has red-flagged Providence University College for faith-based hiring.
The school near Steinbach joins four other Christian universities, including Canadian Mennonite University, red-flagged by the Canadian Association of University Teachers.
"We're saying they impose a homogeneity of belief that is antithetical to what it means to be a university," CAUT executive director James Turk said from Ottawa.
Providence requires that faculty agree to live by the school's covenant of community life, which includes agreeing to an "understanding that Jesus Christ is sovereign over every aspect of corporate and individual life," CAUT said after a lengthy investigation.
"They make crystal-clear that this is a requirement for working there," Turk said. "Their academic freedom is violated when there is any prescribed doctrine a faculty member is expected to follow, and can be fired or not hired."
But Providence president August Konkel said faculty do have academic freedom and declared the school's faith requirements are understood and accepted by professors and students.
By following the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada's definition of academic freedom, Konkel said from Otterburne, "we don't tell the professor what to research or write."
Providence does not censor its professors' research, he insisted.
"Our faculty are all enthusiastic about working here," Konkel said, adding they come knowing they won't get rich.
"Faculty members desire to work here. They're paid considerably less than faculty at other universities.
"All employees who work here accept the mission of the institution, which is expressed in the covenant of the community, which is a covenant of faith," Konkel said.
"A student likes to know what kind of institution they're going to. Students know exactly who we are."
Konkel said he is disappointed but not surprised by CAUT's stand, but couldn't see it having any effect on who would want to study or work at Providence.
Turk said there are other faith-based universities across Canada, including Catholic schools, that do not impose a faith test when hiring faculty.
"It's not whether a university can have a religious misison," Turk said.
Advanced Education Minister Erin Selby did not respond to several requests to comment on CAUT's view.
Selby did issue a statement through an aide: "The minister is not involved in hiring at post-secondary institutions."
CAUT will be looking at other faith-based universities, possibly including Winnipeg's Booth University College, Turk said.