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Academic and Religious Freedom in tension at Shorter University

Another excellent article on church-related higher education/religion and higher education by Libby A. Nelson over at Inside Higher Ed that chronicles the difficulties (I don’t see another word for it) Shorter University in Rome, GA, has undergone over the past ten years.  Like a number Southern Baptist institutions, Shorter attempted to sever its ties, in this case, with the Georgia Baptist Association between 2002 and 2005, as the convention claimed prerogative in appointing members to Shorter’s Board of Trustees. The convention continued to appoint trustees, and in October, 2011, Shorter President Donald Dowless inaugurated a requirement that faculty (including tenured faculty) and staff sign statements of faith and behavior to obtain or retain employment.  The article exposes deep tensions between freedom of religious practice and academic freedom as well as the ways these tensions have legal, regulatory, and accreditation ramifications.  An informative and thought-provoking article.

Posted by Joe Creech

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