TWU School of Law statement
Trinity Western University appreciates the many law students who have spoken this week both for and against the idea of a School of Law at TWU.
As a university with a 51-year history in higher education in British Columbia, TWU actively engages in open, respectful debate and dialogue on any topic, including its proposal for a law school. Trinity Western University is known as a community built on principles of acceptance, respect and compassion. It is, however, also a private, faith-based community and was chartered by the Legislature of British Columbia to be such. As a faith-based community, TWU does have core religious beliefs and values and, we trust, has the religious freedom in Canada to maintain such without penalty or discrimination.
In 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada examined this very issue with respect to an application by TWU for a teacher education program. In a very clear 8 to 1 decision the Supreme Court of Canada indicated that TWU could maintain its religious views and still fully participate in Canadian society. The Supreme Court stated: "…freedom of religion is not accommodated if the consequence of its exercise is the denial of the right of full participation in society."
TWU has submitted a proposal for a School of Law that was rigorously researched and developed in consultation with many lawyers, judges, academics and other leaders across the country. The proposal is for a small law school in Langley with a focus on professionalism, ethics, skills training and specializations in charities law and entrepreneur law. While this would be the first faith-based law school in Canada, there are around 30 in the United States including Notre Dame, Boston College, Baylor and Pepperdine.
TWU is proud of the contribution we make in Canada as a Christian university. Consistent with our mission and core values, the University will continue in its purpose of pursuing excellence in research and scholarship and developing individuals who are dedicated to treating all people with dignity and respect so that the world may experience Christ’s truth, compassion, reconciliation, and hope.
While we value and respect differing views, we trust that a faith-based community still has the religious freedom in Canada to maintain its beliefs and participate fully in society.