Has the Community Covenant been dropped or otherwise abandoned?
The Community Covenant still exists, unchanged. It still represents the standards that we desire of our community. It has however, been made non-mandatory for all students commencing the 2018-2019 academic year.
Why has the Community Covenant been made non-mandatory to sign?
We want to ensure that TWU continues as a thriving community of Christian believers who clearly demonstrate that we are a welcoming environment for students from all perspectives, who wish to learn from a Christian viewpoint and underlying philosophy.
Is this decision a result of the outcome of the Supreme Court of Canada case?
The Supreme Court of Canada decision was a contributing factor in this decision, but certainly not the only factor. We are continually challenging ourselves to determine ways in which our Christian identity, Mission and ministry can be strengthened.
Have you changed the language within the Community Covenant?
The Community Covenant still exists, unchanged. We have amended the language of our community covenant in the past and we will periodically review it in the future as well. What will not change is the purpose behind the covenant, which reflects the identity of TWU as a Biblically-based, Mission-focused, academically excellent, Christian community that seeks to serve.
Are you now supporting and promoting extra-marital or same-sex (LGBTQ+) relationships?
The values represented in the Community Covenant are rooted in our understanding of the Bible and encourages our community members to cultivate Christian virtues. We remain a Christian community, rooted in the evangelical tradition and holding traditional evangelical Christian beliefs. The fact that the Community Covenant will no longer be mandatory for students does not change this.
Why has this change been made after the time, effort and legal cost surrounding this matter?
We took the matter as far as we possibly could – with our case being heard by the highest court in Canada. And although the Supreme Court of Canada found that the law societies did breach our freedom of religion, we hoped for a different outcome. In order to ensure that TWU continues as a thriving community of Christian believers, we respect the decision as it stands.
Without a mandatory signing of the Community Covenant, what will influence student behaviour?
All universities have codes of conduct for their students. There will still be a requirement for appropriate behaviour for students influenced by our religious beliefs, but the Community Covenant itself will not be mandatory. Additionally, TWU will continue to implement its mission consistent with its Core Values and its legislative mandate to provide education with an underlying Christian viewpoint and philosophy.
Is this decision an indication that you are moving away from your founding Mission?
Not at all. We believe this will position us to better fulfill the Mission of TWU. In fact, this season has encouraged us towards a renewed commitment and intentionality on the part of staff and faculty to ensure that our students continue to be positively impacted by evangelical Christian principles.
What measures are in place to ensure that TWU is not heading down the “slippery slope”?
Spiritual life at TWU remains rooted in the same foundational Evangelical principles it always has, and is continuing to grow stronger and more robust, year by year. Chapel services continue to take place every day, as one of the core rhythms of our spiritual life. Students continue to be heavily involved in ministry to each other and to the surrounding community. Discipleship and mentorship remain core elements to our development of godly Christian leaders. Student Life continues to actively pursue new and innovative ways to serve the student body in alignment with our Mission and Core Values, which remain unchanged.