Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

God and man at Yale again

Naomi Schaefer Riley picks up on a story I noted here. Riley, it seems, would prefer the maintenance of historic ties to even a liberal denomination that clearly commands next to no support in the student body. The alternative, she thinks, is "a vague, ’inoffensive’ spirituality." I think that theologically serious students, conservative and liberal, orthodox and unorthodox, can demand access to the chapel and its facilities. Neutrality or "benevolent neutrality" is probably preferable to the status quo. But we have to make certain that Yale indeed remains neutral.

I like Riley’s other point better:

If Yale is interested in strengthening religious expression on campus, it might want to think more about dorm policies, for instance, than about chapel affiliation. It was eight years ago that five orthodox Jewish students there sought to live off-campus because the co-ed dormitories forced them to encounter in the hallways half-naked members of the opposite sex. The students were denounced for being judgmental and told that, if they did leave campus, they would still have to pay the $7,000 dorm fee. (They lost a subsequent lawsuit.)

At the time, a Yale spokesman explained that co-ed dorms were just one "aspect of the Yale educational experience." Yes, of course. But it is one aspect that might be taken up by a committee charged with figuring out how to make religious students at Yale feel more welcome. Maybe the committee should meet again.

Riley is to be commended for keeping Yale’s feet to the fire.

Discussions - 1 Comment

I am trying to figure out where Riley’s views end and Knippenberg’s start in the first paragraph. Regardless, I have a question to pose. If Yale, or any college, is going to re-capture its historic ties to a denomination, how would it remain "neutral?" It should either give up the principles or hold fast to them and allow people to quietly reject them or go elsewhere. In times past, many Jews attended Catholic schools for the education and morals even as they endured the catechism.

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