Before I update on the meeting results (from my point-of-view), I’ve added some more media.
So what happened?
Eighteen speakers presented to the executive committee of the General Faculties Council. In the end, seven were against any change, while ten or eleven were for a change. (I say “or eleven” as one prof, while Christian and valuing the phrase “Glory of God” understands that it fails to represent some students).
None of the profs spoke for keeping the current charge, while many spoke very eloquently in why a change is necessary.
The two chaplains and the religious groups present (Campus for Christ, Muslim Students Association and the Mormons) argued to keep it, along with one other individual undergraduate and graduate student.
The arguments for keeping the charge were familiar – tradition, the openness of the word “God” – and also unfamiliar, with the graduate student arguing that since all currencies are tied to the American dollar – which says “In God we trust” on it – we need to keep God in convocation. The chaplains were hoping to set us up as intolerant and dichotomous, only promoting one idea (removing the charge) or we’d skip convocation. Unfortunately for their argument, several of the professors offered alternative secularized charges, which we’ve never been opposed to.
Finally, here’s some top quotes of the night:
- “Graduates shouldn’t have to attend [convocation] with their fingers crossed.”
- “[The current charge] may be constructed as a call to arms.”
- “[The university] should not only be open to all, but appear open to all.”
- An alternative charge: “…to the glory of whatever is most sacred to you…”
On Monday, November 3, there will be another meeting of the GFC Exec Committee (open to the public), and they are taking submissions until Thursday (email Garry Bodnar of the Provost’s office). I’ll keep you updated from there.