Penn Prof: Religious Colleges Should Not Be Accredited

Penn Prof: Religious Colleges Should Not Be Accredited July 7, 2014

University of Pennsylvania professor Peter Conn says at the Chronicle of Higher Education that religious colleges (presumably meaning only conservative Christian colleges) should not receive accreditation. Conn:

Providing accreditation to colleges like Wheaton makes a mockery of whatever academic and intellectual standards the process of accreditation is supposed to uphold. If accrediting agencies are playing by the rules in this continuing fiasco, then the rules have to be changed—or interpreted more aggressively, so that “respect” for “belief systems” does not entail approving the subversion of our core academic mission by this or that species of dogma.

There’s much to say about this remarkable piece, which I trust (hope?) even most secular academic leaders would not affirm. Conn seems not to be aware that taking away the role of faith would gut the history of American higher education (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame, etc.), and that even his own institution once taught the superiority of Christianity as a religion. Conn also seems not to be conversant with the postmodern turn, which has demonstrated how deeply ideological even “science” and “rationality” are. No one, especially someone like Conn, is free of ideology.

In any case, read my Baylor colleague Alan Jacobs’ powerful response to Conn, as well as Rod Dreher’s analysis of Conn and Jacobs.

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