Discussion by: EnthusiasticAtheistAs I have indicated in other posts (some published some yet to be), I work at a very prominent Canadian University as administrative support staff. Recently I was informed of the following policy at my institution and I don’t know what to do about it:
University acknowledges that, due to the pluralistic nature of the University
community, some students may, on religious grounds, require alternative times
to write tests and examinations. Accordingly, a student who requires an
alternative test or examination on religious grounds should consult with the
Associate Dean of the Faculty offering the course. Such a request must be made
within one week of the announcement of the test or examination date. For
students in courses taught at the University Colleges, the Dean or Head of the
University College exercises the responsibilities of the Associate Dean in
these procedures in cases where there is no Dean.
The Registrar acts as advocate for students when such
problems come to his attention.
What bothers me about this (aside from the obvious) is a major academic institution, recognized world-wide for Engineering, Science, Nano-technology to name only a few, is the statement that the University Community is pluralistic and exceptions should be made for their beliefs. As an atheist I will not receive the same benefit if I decide that it’s too cold for me to attend my exam or I’m just too tired to write it at 9 in the morning, but someone who believes in fairy tales can be excused and have their exam not only re-scheduled, but an entirely different exam must be prepared for them so that they don’t get the answers from someone who wrote it before them!
While we may not be considered as secular in Canada as far as our politics are concerned (and I’ve got even some issues with that lately too) I’ve been noting a trend in our media and educational institutions to head in a less secular direction and I’m afraid!! Maybe the religious right wing of the U.S. have decided they’ve done their job there and are moving on into my country?
As an employee who needs and enjoys my job, how do I speak out against this and should I?