Embrace the 21st century

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To the Editor, 
Recently there has been a series of letters to the editor, in various outlets, dealing with the UPEI and whether it was proper for it to host a conference on abortion.

These letters effectively focused on the role of a university in our society, and the UPEI in particular. 

Being "from away," I had prepared and braced myself for P.E.I.’s socially conservative political environment. But nothing had prepared me for this. 

The purpose of universities was, and should be, to teach people how to think and to cultivate their minds and cultural tastes. Only recently have some attempted to turn universities into corporate training grounds. The purpose of universities is to teach people to think and challenge intellectual and social conventions.

One can only wonder what Cardinal Newman or CP Snow would have to say about this attempt to reassert religion into universities, or what can be studied or discussed. Some of the views being exhibited are more than frightening. Many universities been secularized in the past four decades. This secularization doesn't seem to have hurt anyone or harmed intellectual development.

Are those with religious convictions presuming to now introduce a religious entrance requirement for admission to UPEI, or that they shall have the ability to control course content and eliminate various subjects such as Darwinian evolution from biology or genetics course? Are we to cancel courses in political theory because it they study controversial philosophers such as Marx? The whole idea behind universities in a liberal democracy is free thought and free speech. 

Within a university all ideas should be open for examination, including abortion, religion, birth control, sexuality, Marxism and any other purportedly "subversive" or offensive ideas.

While some may want to return to antiquated times, I for one would suggest that those who want to impose their own religious views and moral values on others, especially within an educational context, should embrace the twenty-first century.

Since the 1960s there has been an increasing secularization of public and social policy in Canada. It is time that some people get used to it. 

Richard Deaton,

Stanley Bridge

Geographic location: Canada, Stanley Bridge

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