Robert G. Kuhn, president of TWU, stressed in a statement that despite the decision, TWU “will remain a Biblically-based, mission-focused, academically excellent University, fully committed to our foundational evangelical Christian principles.” Photo courtesy of Trinity Western University via Facebook

Trinity Western University removes mandatory community covenant

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  • August 14, 2018

OTTAWA – After battling all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to defend its mandatory community covenant, Trinity Western University (TWU) has decided to drop it for students.

On Aug. 9, the university’s board of governors voted to no longer require students to sign the covenant that included a prohibition against sex outside of traditional marriage. 

The governors passed the following motion: “In furtherance of our desire to maintain TWU as a thriving community of Christian believers that is inclusive of all students wishing to learn from a Christian viewpoint and underlying philosophy, the Community Covenant will no longer be mandatory as of the 2018-19 academic year with respect to admission of students to, or continuation of students at, the University.”

The decision follows the June 15 Supreme Court of Canada’s release of two 7-2 decisions against TWU that upheld decisions by the Law Society of British Columbia and the Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) not to accredit TWU’s proposed law school because the covenant was deemed discriminatory against LGBTQ students.

Robert G. Kuhn, president of TWU, stressed in a statement that despite the decision, TWU “will remain a Biblically-based, mission-focused, academically excellent University, fully committed to our foundational evangelical Christian principles.”

Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver supported TWU's decision in a statement. "I support Trinity Western University in its decision to no longer require the community covenant, and am pleased that it remains committed to its mission of developing leaders formed in an institution of Christian inspiration. Because I believe the wider community will benefit from greater diversity in institutions of higher education, I hope TWU will refiled its application for accreditation of its proposed law school."

The Supreme Court’s TWU decisions were widely interpreted as a blow to religious freedom and associational rights by the many religious groups that intervened in the case, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Vancouver and  the Catholic Civil Rights League.

Former Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennett said following the June 15 decision that the court had “effectively” relegated “freedom of conscience and religion out of section 2 of the charter.”

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