Province’s FOI Request Reveals Serious Concerns About TWU Law School Plan
By Mike Archer. The Province newspaper has revealed, as a result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, that experts reviewing Trinity Western University’s proposal for a Christian Law School had serious reservations about TWU’s plan.
The criticism revealed as a result of the FOI request a lack of courses in the proposed program serious that would teach students basic legal theory and criticism of the impact the school’s controversial Community Covenant on the both the diversity of faculty and students and on the academic quality of the education the school would provide.
[From the Province article]
“The curriculum as described in the written materials does not set out in a comprehensive way what the overall learning objectives are,” the panel said. “The proposal says very little about the importance of an understanding of the theory of law.”
“It is virtually certain, in our view,” the panel wrote, “that requiring law students to sign the Community Covenant would have a similar detrimental effect on the diversity of the law student body, and it may also have a detrimental effect on the academic quality of those students.”
Other criticism included observations that TWU’s program would be more “rigid” than any other Canadian law school program; that it was very scanty on criminal law; that it would offer only a “light dusting of aboriginal law” and “no separate legal research course”; and that “family law (is) not required.”
The proposal has run into strong opposition from lawyers and law societies across the country and despite those concerns the government gave its approval to the plan. TWU president Bob Kuhn has responded, at times angrily, to the suggestion that the older, conservative-leaning members of the administration, board and donors who fund the evangelical school are out of touch with the student body and the younger, less rigid generation of Fraser Valley Christians.
In June,at a Special General Meeting held by the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC), in a vote of 3210 to 968, a resolution was passed by lawyers across the province who attended the meeting to direct the Benchers of the LSBC to reverse their April 11 decision approving a faculty of law at Trinity Western University.