Langley’s TWU taking B.C. law society to court over approval withdrawal

Trinity Western University has another court battle on its hands, saying it will launch legal proceedings against the Law Society of British Columbia for reversing its approval.

Both the Law Society of British Columbia and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education originally approved TWU’s School of Law.

The society changed its decision and the province said the school would not be open before its approval expired in December 2016. The plan was to open in September 2016 but legal wrangling will likely delay plans.

“We have no choice but to proceed legally,” said Bob Kuhn, president of Trinity Western. “By prejudging our future law graduates not on their qualifications but the Community Covenant they agree to abide by while students at TWU, the law society has infringed on the human rights of TWU and its students.”

The law society based its decision not on academics bt on TWU’s views, he said.

Members of the TWU community must sign a document that says, among other things, that sex belongs within traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

“The Supreme Court ruled in its 2001 decision involving approval of the TWU education program that, just as is the case with respect to the law school, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the religious views of TWU graduates lessen their competence to practice their profession in Canada’s pluralistic society,” Kuhn said.

He noted that the covenant calls for students and staff to love and respect others regardless of their backgrounds or personal characteristics.

“TWU is a community of diversity and acceptance,” he said. “This campus is a Christian home for four thousand students with an array of opinions and beliefs.”

The law school has been approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, as well as the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon. Additionally, both the BC Civil Liberties Association and the Archdiocese of Vancouver support TWU’s right to open a law school.

TWU was in court in Nova Scotia starting Dec. 16 as it challenges the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society for not providing approval.

Ontario also said no and TWU heads to court in January 2015 for more legal proceedings in that province.

THE Trinity Western University Community Covenant

Community Covenant Agreement

 

Our Pledge to One Another

 

Trinity Western University (TWU) is a Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences

and professional studies with a vision for developing people of high competence and

exemplary character who distinguish themselves as leaders in the marketplaces of life.

 

1. The TWU Community Covenant

 

The University’s mission, core values, curriculum and community life are formed by a

firm commitment to the person and work of Jesus Christ as declared in the Bible. This

identity and allegiance shapes an educational community in which members pursue truth

and excellence with grace and diligence, treat people and ideas with charity and respect,

think critically and constructively about complex issues, and willingly respond to the

world’s most profound needs and greatest opportunities.

 

The University is an interrelated academic community rooted in the evangelical

Protestant tradition; it is made up of Christian administrators, faculty and staff who, along

with students choosing to study at TWU, covenant together to form a community that

strives to live according to biblical precepts, believing that this will optimize the

University’s capacity to fulfil its mission and achieve its aspirations.

 

The community covenant is a solemn pledge in which members place themselves under

obligations on the part of the institution to its members, the members to the institution,

and the members to one another. In making this pledge, members enter into a contractual

agreement and a relational bond.  By doing so, members accept reciprocal benefits and

mutual responsibilities, and strive to achieve respectful and purposeful unity that aims for

the advancement of all, recognizing the diversity of viewpoints, life journeys, stages of

maturity, and roles within the TWU community. It is vital that each person who accepts

the invitation to become a member of the TWU community carefully considers and

sincerely embraces this community covenant.

 

2. Christian Community

 

The University’s acceptance of the Bible as the divinely inspired, authoritative guide for

personal and community life1 is foundational to its affirmation that people flourish and

most fully reach their potential when they delight in seeking God’s purposes, and when

they renounce and resist the things that stand in the way of those purposes being

fulfilled.2 This ongoing God-enabled pursuit of a holy life is an inner transformation that

actualizes a life of purpose and eternal significance.3 Such a distinctly Christian way of

living finds its fullest expression in Christian love, which was exemplified fully by Jesus

                                                 

The Biblical passages cited in this document serve as points of reference for discussion or reflection on particular topics. TWU

recognizes the necessity of giving careful consideration to the complexities involved in interpreting and applying biblical passages to

contemporary issues and situations.

 

1

 Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16  

2

 Matthew 6:31-33; Romans 8:1-17; 12:1-2; 13:11-14; 16:19; Jude 20-23; 1 Peter 2:11; 2 Corinthians 7:1.

3

 2 Peter 1:3-8; 1 Peter 2:9-12; Matthew 5:16; Luke 1:74-75; Romans 6:11-14, 22-23; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, 4:3, 5:23-24; Galatians

5:22;  Ephesians 4:22-24, 5:8.

 – 2 –

Christ, and is characterized by humility, self-sacrifice, mercy and justice, and mutual

submission for the good of others.4  

 

This biblical foundation inspires TWU to be a distinctly Christian university in which

members and others observe and experience truth, compassion, reconciliation, and hope.5

TWU envisions itself to be a community where members demonstrate concern for the

well-being of others, where rigorous intellectual learning occurs in the context of whole

person development, where members give priority to spiritual formation, and where

service-oriented citizenship is modeled.

 

3. Community Life at TWU

 

The TWU community covenant involves a commitment on the part of all members to

embody attitudes and to practise actions identified in the Bible as virtues, and to avoid

those portrayed as destructive. Members of the TWU community, therefore, commit

themselves to:  

 

• cultivate Christian virtues, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, compassion, humility, forgiveness,

peacemaking, mercy and justice6

• live exemplary lives characterized by honesty, civility, truthfulness, generosity

and integrity7

• communicate in ways that build others up, according to their needs, for the benefit

of all8

• treat all persons with respect and dignity, and uphold their God-given worth from

conception to death9

• be responsible citizens both locally and globally who respect authorities, submit

to the laws of this country, and contribute to the welfare of creation and society10

• observe modesty, purity and appropriate intimacy in all relationships, reserve

sexual expressions of intimacy for marriage, and within marriage take every

reasonable step to resolve conflict and avoid divorce11

• exercise careful judgment in all lifestyle choices, and take responsibility for

personal choices and their impact on others12

• encourage and support other members of the community in their pursuit of these

values and ideals, while extending forgiveness, accountability, restoration, and

healing to one another.13

 

In keeping with biblical and TWU ideals, community members voluntarily abstain from

the following actions:  

 

                                                 

4

 Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Peter 5:5; Romans 13:8-10; 1 John 4:7-10; Philippians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:8a; Romans 12:1-3, 9-

10; John 15:12-13, 17; 1 John 3:10-11, 14-16; Ephesians 5:1-2,21.

5

 From TWU’s “Envision the Century” Strategic Directions Document, p 5 (“Ends”).   

6

 Galatians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:12-17; Isaiah 58:6-8; Micah 6:8.

7

 Proverbs 12:19; Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:25; Leviticus 19:11; Exodus 20:16; Matthew 5:33-37.

8

 Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 25:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

9

 Genesis 1:27-28; Psalm 139:13-16; Matthew 19:14; Proverbs 23:22.

10

 Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:5-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9.

11

 Genesis 2:24; Exodus 20:14,17; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5:15-19; Matthew 19:4-6; Malachi 2:16; Matthew

5:32.

12

 Proverbs 4:20-27; Romans 14:13,19; 1 Corinthians 8:9,12-13, 10:23-24; Ephesians 5:15-16.

13

 James 5:16; Jude 20-23; Romans 12:14-21; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 3:13.

 – 3 –

• communication that is destructive to TWU community life and inter–personal

relationships, including gossip, slander, vulgar/obscene language, and prejudice14

• harassment or any form of verbal or physical intimidation, including hazing

• lying, cheating, or other forms of dishonesty including plagiarism

• stealing, misusing or destroying property belonging to others15  

• sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a

woman16

• the use of materials that are degrading, dehumanizing, exploitive, hateful, or

gratuitously violent, including, but not limited to pornography

• drunkenness, under-age consumption of alcohol, the use or possession of illegal

drugs, and the misuse or abuse of substances including prescribed drugs

• the use or possession of alcohol on campus, or at any TWU sponsored event, and

the use of tobacco on campus or at any TWU sponsored event.

 

4. Areas for Careful Discernment and Sensitivity

 

A heightened level of discernment and sensitivity is appropriate within a Christian

educational community such as TWU. In order to foster the kind of campus atmosphere

most conducive to university ends, this covenant both identifies particular Christian

standards and recognizes degrees of latitude for individual freedom. True freedom is not

the freedom to do as one pleases, but rather empowerment to do what is best.17 TWU

rejects legalisms that mistakenly identify certain cultural practices as biblical imperatives,

or that emphasize outward conduct as the measure of genuine Christian maturity apart

from inward thoughts and motivations. In all respects, the TWU community expects its

members to exercise wise decision-making according to biblical principles, carefully

accounting for each individual’s capabilities, vulnerabilities, and values, and considering

the consequences of those choices to health and character, social relationships, and God’s

purposes in the world.  

 

TWU is committed to assisting members who desire to face difficulties or overcome the

consequences of poor personal choices by providing reasonable care, resources, and

environments for safe and meaningful dialogue. TWU reserves the right to question,

challenge or discipline any member in response to actions that impact personal or social

welfare.

 

 Wise and Sustainable Self-Care

 

The University is committed to promoting and supporting habits of healthy self-care in

all its members, recognizing that each individual’s actions can have a cumulative impact

on the entire community. TWU encourages its members to pursue and promote:

sustainable patterns of sleep, eating, exercise, and preventative health; as well as

sustainable rhythms of solitude and community, personal spiritual disciplines, chapel and

local church participation,18 work, study and recreation, service and rest.

                                                 

14

 Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:31.

15

 Exodus 20:15; Ephesians 4:28.

16

 Romans 1:26-27; Proverbs 6:23-35.

17

 Galatians 5:1,13; Romans 8:1-4; 1 Peter 2:16.

18

 Ephesians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:15-16; Hebrews 10:25.

 – 4 –

 

Healthy Sexuality

 

People face significant challenges in practicing biblical sexual health within a highly

sexualized culture. A biblical view of sexuality holds that a person’s decisions regarding

his or her body are physically, spiritually and emotionally inseparable.  Such decisions

affect a person’s ability to live out God’s intention for wholeness in relationship to God,

to one’s (future) spouse, to others in the community, and to oneself.19 Further, according

to the Bible, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman,

and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means for

marital intimacy and procreation.20 Honouring and upholding these principles, members

of the TWU community strive for purity of thought and relationship,21 respectful

modesty,22 personal responsibility for actions taken, and avoidance of contexts where

temptation to compromise would be particularly strong.23  

 

Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco  

 

The use of illegal drugs is by definition illicit. The abuse of legal drugs has been shown

to be physically and socially destructive, especially in its potential for forming life-

destroying addictions. For these reasons, TWU members voluntarily abstain from the use

of illegal drugs and the abuse of legal drugs at all times.  

 

The decision whether or not to consume alcohol or use tobacco is more complex. The

Bible allows for the enjoyment of alcohol in moderation,24 but it also strongly warns

against drunkenness and addiction, which overpowers wise and reasonable behaviour and

hinders personal development.25 The Bible commends leaders who abstained from, or

were not addicted to, alcohol.26 Alcohol abuse has many long-lasting negative physical,

social and academic consequences. The Bible has no direct instructions regarding the use

of tobacco, though many biblical principles regarding stewardship of the body offer

guidance. Tobacco is clearly hazardous to the health of both users and bystanders. Many

people avoid alcohol and/or tobacco as a matter of conscience, personal health, or in

response to an addiction. With these concerns in mind, TWU members will exercise

careful discretion, sensitivity to others’ conscience/principles, moderation, compassion,

and mutual responsibility. In addition, TWU strongly discourages participation in events

where the primary purpose is the excessive consumption of alcohol.

 

 Entertainment

 

When considering the myriad of entertainment options available, including print media,

television, film, music, video games, the internet, theatre, concerts, social dancing, clubs,

sports, recreation, and gambling, TWU expects its members to make personal choices

according to biblical priorities, and with careful consideration for the immediate and

long-term impact on one’s own well-being, the well-being of others, and the well-being

                                                 

19

 1 Corinthians 6:18-19.

20

 Genesis 2:24; Exodus 20:14,17; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5:15-19; Matthew 19:4-6.

21

 Matthew 5:27-28; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Job 31:1-4; Psalm 101:2-3.

22

 1 Peter 3:3-4; 1 Timothy 2:9-10

23

 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:13; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 4:7.

24

 Deuteronomy 7:13, 11:14, Psalm 104:15; Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 25:6; John 2:7-11; 1 Timothy 5:23.

25

 Genesis 9:20-21; Proverbs 20:1; 31:4; Isaiah 5:11; Habakkuk 2:4-5; Ephesians 5:18.

26

 Daniel 1:8, 10:3; Luke 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:3,8; Titus 2:3.

 – 5 –

of the University. Entertainment choices should be guided by the pursuit of activities that

are edifying, beneficial and constructive, and by a preference for those things that are

“true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy,”27 recognizing

that truth and beauty appear in many differing forms, may be disguised, and may be seen

in different ways by different people.

 

5. Commitment and Accountability

 

This covenant applies to all members of the TWU community, that is, administrators,

faculty and staff employed by TWU and its affiliates, and students enrolled at TWU or

any affiliate program.  Unless specifically stated otherwise, expectations of this covenant

apply to both on and off TWU’s campus and extension sites.  Sincerely embracing every

part of this covenant is a requirement for employment. Employees who sign this covenant

also commit themselves to abide by TWU Employment Policies.  TWU welcomes all

students who qualify for admission, recognizing that not all affirm the theological views

that are vital to the University’s Christian identity. Students sign this covenant with the

commitment to abide by the expectations contained within the Community Covenant, and

by campus policies published in the Academic Calendar and Student Handbook.

 

Ensuring that the integrity of the TWU community is upheld may at times involve taking

steps to hold one another accountable to the mutual commitments outlined in this

covenant.  As a covenant community, all members share this responsibility.  The

University also provides formal accountability procedures to address actions by

community members that represent a disregard for this covenant.  These procedures and

processes are outlined in TWU’s Student Handbook and Employment Policies and will

be enacted by designated representatives of the University as deemed necessary.  

 

By my agreement below I affirm that:

 

I have accepted the invitation to be a member of the TWU community with all the mutual

benefits and responsibilities that are involved;

 

I understand that by becoming a member of the TWU community I have also become an

ambassador of this community and the ideals it represents;

 

I have carefully read and considered TWU’s Community Covenant and will join in

fulfilling its responsibilities while I am a member of the TWU community.  

                                                 

27

 Philippians 4:8.

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