Alumni are upset

There’s two responses in Journal today attacking the recent University decision to change the convocation charge.

Before I post them, it’s worth noting that the Journal’s editorial staff was never on side with a convocation change, and used a full-page of letters to bash the idea, and then refused to print any further debate in their pages (at least they didn’t blame us for school shootings though).

Re: “U of A grad not quite Godless; Rewording of convocation charge seen as positive for students with Almighty-optional views,” The Journal, Jan. 27.

As a U of A graduate, I found the university’s decision to reduce the role of God in the convocation ceremony disturbing and unacceptable.

The decision is just another example of society giving up on traditions and norms that have served us well. Change is not always better.

It is a sorry day when the majority yields to the demands of a minority and allows it to set standards for all.

Minorities and those with views different than the majority can have their rights recognized, but it should not be at the expense of the majority.

It’s time that the majority stands up for its rights and values. In a democratic society, the majority does have some say!

C.L. Dmytruk, Edmonton

I am disappointed the U of A, my alma mater, caved into the atheists’ request to alter the reference to God in the convocation charge.

While I respect the atheists’ freedom of speech, their beliefs should not affect the university’s long-established convocation charge. If these students took offence to God being mentioned at the convocation, they should have thought about that before they applied for admission to the university.

Their victory serves no purpose but to offend the actual people who laid the foundation for openness and acceptance of other peoples’ point of view regardless of religion, culture or beliefs.

Maybe more Christians should speak up. Our opinion should also be taken into consideration during the process.

Jeannie Henke, Calgary

There’s a few issues in their arguments here:

  1. Tyranny of the majority arguments.
  2. Tradition for the sake of tradition arguments.

And one I haven’t dealt with yet: the “you should have known it was a theistic school and then not gone there because of that” argument.

There’s a few problems with this argument though:

First, the University of Alberta doesn’t advertise itself as a theistic/religious school. Sure, St. Joe’s and St. Stephen’s obviously are, but the rest of the school is billed as a public, and in some cases even as having a secular past! So at best, we’d have to accuse the university of false advertising for having religious messages in a billed “secular” institution.

Second, even granting their false advertising, the University doesn’t publish it’s convocation proceedings anywhere. So if I really wanted to know what was in there, I’d have had to submit a written request to the registrar to learn the text of it.

And that’s assuming the only religious reference was in convocation, there’s any other number of places they could hide.

If the UofA was the Christian school that these writers wish it were, then it would be obvious to all, and not hidden in documents that aren’t even made public.

It’s also worth checking in on the Evangelical Calgary Herald’s views in this lead editorial:

The University of Alberta’s meek surrender to its atheists over God’s place in the convocation charge was a sorry lapse of judgment.

Why do public institutions so often cede traditions representing a wide consensus, to accommodate a few who complain? To defend a custom for the sake of what has been done in its name is not automatically minority oppression: Sometimes, it’s just saying continuity with the past has value — and dissenters should also show grace to a majority…

The Calgary Herald, always a shining beacon of irrationality.

4 thoughts on “Alumni are upset”

  1. The letters responding to those (see here and here are, predictably, less upset and substantially more supportive.

    Sadly (?), nothing’s there to save the Herald, although there are a host of more atheistic / secular discussions going on in its letters page. The only one referring to the convocation is a veiled attack on all intellectuals (followed by a “any victim of violence who isn’t carrying a gun deserved what they got” letter and a pro-life distortion, go Calgary), while this is funny enough to be worth a read.

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