Motion to Faculty Council re: Trinity Western University
Motion to Faculty Council
Moved by: Mary Jane Mossman Seconded by: Douglas Judson
Faculty Council of Osgoode Hall Law School endorses the following statement with respect to the approval by the Federation of Law Societies of the law school at Trinity Western University:
WHEREAS Osgoode Hall Law School is committed to the principle that diversity among faculty, students and staff is integral to an open and vibrant environment for teaching and learning law;
WHEREAS Osgoode Hall Law School is committed to continual scrutiny and improvement in our practices of inclusion, and respect for the equality and human rights of all persons involved in teaching and learning about the law; and
WHEREAS Osgoode Hall Law School acknowledges, with profound regret, discriminatory practices in the legal profession and in legal education in Canada, by which some persons have been excluded from the practice of law on grounds such as gender, race, religion and dis/ability.
IN THIS CONTEXT, the Faculty Council of Osgoode Hall Law School respectfully requests Trinity Western University to eliminate the discriminatory language and content in its “Community Covenant” 1 on the basis that:
The “Community Covenant” at Trinity Western University constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status in relation to LGBTQ faculty, staff and students, by proscribing same-sex intimacy within or outside marriage (and opposite sex intimacy outside marriage); and that this discrimination will disproportionately affect faculty, staff and students who are members of some Christian communities; and
The “Community Covenant” at Trinity Western University will result in a disproportionate reduction in the relative proportion of places for the study of law in Canada - for students and potential students seeking to study law who are within the group excluded from Trinity Western University’s law school (particularly LGBTQ students); and that this disproportionate reduction in access to legal education in Canada constitutes discrimination and a denial of equality and access to justice for excluded persons.
IN ADDITION, and in a spirit of welcoming diversity and embracing equality at Osgoode Hall Law School, Faculty Council requests the Dean and staff, in consultation with faculty and students, to make best efforts to:
Reaffirm Osgoode Hall Law School’s commitment to LGBTQ students by establishing and awarding annually a prize for the best law student essay on the subject of law, sexual orientation/sexual identity, and human rights/equality;
Reaffirm Osgoode Hall Law School’s commitment to teaching and learning that is respectful of religious values and religious persons by establishing and awarding annually a prize for the best law student essay on the subject of law, religion and human rights/equality; and
Reaffirm Osgoode Hall Law School’s commitment to potential LGBTQ students by establishing a scholarship or bursary for an LGBTQ student in financial need.
IN PASSING THIS MOTION, Faculty Council of Osgoode Hall Law School agrees that:
The Chair of Faculty Council will forward this motion to Trinity Western University; and
The motion may be circulated by members of Faculty Council and the Osgoode community to other interested parties.
1. Trinity Western University is a private, faith-based university affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, in which faculty, staff and students are required to sign an annual faith statement, a “Community Covenant,” which creates a code of conduct. The “Community Covenant” (section 3) commits persons at Trinity Western University, inter alia, to “treat all persons with respect and dignity” and to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” The “Community Covenant” (penultimate para) also states that signatories “become an ambassador of this community and the ideals it represents.” ↩
Office of External Relations & Communications, "Motion to Faculty Council re: Trinity Western University" (2014). Media Releases. 35.