The wrong side of the law school
TWU faces security breaches after receiving inaccurate accusations of anti-homosexual sentiments.
This month the Council of Canadian Law Deans distributed a letter criticizing Trinity Western University’s community covenant for its perceived intolerance of homosexuality. “This is a matter of great concern for all members.... Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unlawful in Canada and fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools,” said Bill Flanagan, President of the council.
However, Flanagan failed to comment on the Supreme Court ruling in TWU’s favour in 2001, stating that a religious school can exempt itself from human rights legislation forbidding discrimination against homosexuals. The court maintained that TWU has the right to require staff, faculty, and students to abstain from homosexual relationships based on the principles of “freedom of conscience and religion.”
Over the past week, numerous media publications have interviewed students and staff for their opinions on the covenant, which have been near-unanimously positive—there are exceptionally few instances of discrimination or hateful stereotyping. When CTV asked President Jonathan Raymond directly, “What would you do if a student confessed to breaking the community covenant with regards to homosexual activity,” he replied, “I don’t know. Do you know why? Because it’s the beginning of a conversation.” Raymond’s reply reflects the ideas of most people on campus, asserting the covenant as a source of inspiration for a higher standard of living and the continuous pursuit of truth as a collective body of Christians.
But not all members of the public are as accepting of this philosophy. Two weeks ago, several TWU staff received upsetting emails related to the university’s recent spotlight in the media. Though worded harshly, these emails did not contain any actual threats. However, on Monday January 21, two laptops were stolen from Mattson Centre and a threatening email was received by staff. Two days later, a faculty member received a phone call from a person claiming to be from Microsoft tech support attempting to gain access to his computer. The next day another laptop was reported stolen.
One of the laptops stolen may have contained students’ personal information including name, contact information, gender, date of birth, and previous school. The university failed to warn students of the potential for identity theft until five days later, but asserted that the risk that someone could access this personal information is quite low.
Though there appears to be no immediate link between these recent acts of crime and the longstanding acts of the “Laptop Bandit,” predominantly occurring in the Norma Marion Alloway Library, the entire campus is on a heightened level of security.
A credible source has confirmed the university received a threat intending to physically assault any attendees of the School of Business Speaker Series hosted in Vancouver on January 24. The university responded by continuing with the event as planned but it also hired a private security firm to protect its students and guests. Fortunately, no altercations occurred.
The university is now in close contact with the RCMP and the Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia.