CAUT is short for Canadian Association of University Teachers. Over the past few years they have been discussing whether or not requiring professors (at faith based universities) to sign a statement of faith breaches academic freedom. And by discussing, I mean that they have decided that requiring professors to follow statements of faith means that academic freedom cannot exist.
I recently read one of their reports on a faith based university's academic freedom. CAUT's definition of academic freedom is;
"Academic freedom includes the right, without restriction by prescribed doctrine, to freedom to teach and discuss; freedom to carry out research and disseminate and publish the results thereof; freedom to produce and perform creative works; freedom to engage in service to the institution and the community; freedom to express one's opinion about the institution, its administration, and the system in which one works; freedom to acquire, preserve, and provide access to documentary material in all formats; and freedom to participate in professional and representative academic bodies. Academic freedom always entails freedom from institutional censorship."
Having knowledge of the institution they were talking about, I went through the checklist.
"Freedom to teach and discuss;" Check. They have it.
"Freedom to carry out research and disseminate and publish the results thereof;" Check.
"Freedom to produce and perform creative works;" Check
"Freedom to engage in service to the institution and the community;" Check
"Freedom to express one's opinion about the institution, its administration, and the system in which one works;" Check.
"Freedom to acquire, preserve, and provide access to documentary material in all formats;" Check.
"Freedom to participate in professional and representative academic bodies." Check.
"Academic freedom always entails freedom from institutional censorship." Check.
"The right, without restriction by prescribed doctrine." Technically, the statement of faith would be a prescribed doctrine. It says that all employees must agree with (essentially) ancient church creeds (the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed); namely that God created everything, Jesus died and became alive again (after 3 days of being dead) in order to enable sinful people to have relationship with God who is perfect, that Jesus was fully human and fully God, and the doctrine of the Trinity. The required statement of faith basically says that those who sign it come at the world from a Christian perspective. So essentially, faith based universities require their employees to come at life from a Christian perspective. This is entirely reasonable since faith based institutions want employees and teachers who believe what is being taught. However, only hiring people who believe these things is seen as requiring a prescribed doctrine. The issue that faith based institutions argue is that all universities have an implied standard of beliefs required for employment (standards which are most often secular humanism), so therefore all universities function as if they have a statement of faith.
From the checklist it seems that faith based institutions follow all the requirements but the one about prescribed doctrine. Since this doctrine (statement of faith) is basic to being a Christian, the statement of faith ensures that courses (at a Christian university) are taught from a Christian perspective (and no that doesn't mean subject matter changes. Just how it's taught). The statement of faith is the groundwork from where professors academic search begins, just as everyone has a foundation of knowledge/beliefs from where they start academic discovery.
What really got me about the report (and reason I bothered to write this) was the conclusion;
"there must be substantial doubt that free teaching, instruction, research, and public comment occur at [the institution]. The Committee finds it disturbing that [the institution's] courses are accepted for credit at the University of , and that [the institution's] degrees are accepted as credentials for entrance to University of  graduate degrees."
I'm kind of offended. Assuming this refers to all faith based institutions, because that is the issue in general, does being a Christian and teaching from a Christian perspective make the following courses unacademic? Courses like math, sociology, psychology, philosophy, aviation, english, media studies, and business. If courses like these don't count because someone who has faith in Jesus Christ as God taught them, then the world is coming to a crazy place. A crazy place indeed.