Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Amy Winehouse asks...

And so do I. It's a question all of us should put to the benighted bureaucrats at Wilfrid Laurier University who denied recognition to a student club that promotes scepticism and rational enquiry.

Here is part of what the Campus Clubs Department wrote to the group after nine months of dithering:

While the promotion of reason, science and freedom of inquiry are perfectly legitimate goals, what is most in question in regards to your club’s vision is the promotion of "a fulfilling life without religion and superstition".

Ezra, where the hell are you? Get over there pronto before they start burning witches.

First-year WLU students heading off to their mandatory Intelligent Design 101 class

H/t Canadian Cynic.

UPDATE: (February 4) Welcome to my visitors by way of Pharyngula. I'm a little embarrassed: I must apologize if I brought you over here under false pretences, although Amy's well worth listening to in her own right. Others, including PZ himself, have dealt with the issue at hand far more exhaustively. I merely joined the chorus, which is rapidly swelling. I would like to assure my foreign visitors, however, that the current goings-on at Bob Jones North are not typical of Canadian universities.

UPPERDATE: (February 5)

An enterprising reader of Pharyngula sent a note of protest to the WLU "Office of Student Diversity," a name which, in this context, sounds a mite Orwellian. I reprint the response, in full:

Thank you very much for your email.

With respect to all Campus Clubs (and our entire university community), we promote an very inclusive environment. We pride ourselves on a very student-centered university, and we pride ourselves on the uniqueness of our clubs.

If you recieved your information from the many blogs posts that are surfacing, than you are mis-informed. The Freethinkers Club has been temporarily denied club status based on certain wording within their application. As a university, we want to maintain that each club is inclusive of all members of the Laurier community before it is granted status as a Laurier Campus Club. After talking to the vice-president of the Freethinkers and members of the Student Union, both sides have agreed to rework the application and work together in the creation of this club.

I hope that answers your question.


Note, first of all, that the Office of Student Diversity is not the WLU Students Union. "Adam" is Adam Lawrence, the diversity coordinator, who can be contacted at alawrence@wlu.ca. His office is part of the university administration: he is a salaried employee of WLU.

Now, pay attention to this mendacious sentence: "As a university, we want to maintain that each club is inclusive of all members of the Laurier community before it is granted status as a Laurier Campus Club."

Does this mean that the Campus Crusade for Christ will now be open to Muslims, Jews and...Freethinkers? "Well, Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and those other people are sinners bound for the hot place, but hey! We're inclusive!"

The folks at Bob Jones North* ought to start observing the First Rule of Holes before they too end up toasting marshmallows with the heretics and infidels.

*A commenter thinks this sobriquet is unfair. He's no doubt right. Call it a measure of my irritation with the handling of this whole affair.

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