U. of I.'s teaching partnership with Catholic Church draws scrutiny

Note: This a different thread because this article’s focus is on the relationship between the state school and the Church, not specifically about Dr. Howell.

U. of I.'s teaching partnership with Catholic Church draws scrutiny
The flap over a University of Illinois adjunct instructor dismissed after making controversial remarks about homosexuality arises from an unusual partnership between the state university and the Roman Catholic Church.
The church has maintained control over how Catholic theory was taught, selecting the instructors and paying their salaries. Although the university has amended the agreement over the years to exercise more control, the arrangement has left the Catholic component of the school’s otherwise secular religious studies curriculum susceptible to church influence.

Faculty and administrators now will review that policy to determine if it violates the separation of church and state or threatens academic integrity. They hope to conclude their investigation before the fall semester begins.

Controversial remarks? He was teaching Catholicism, teaching “this is what the Catholic Church teaches.”
Susceptible to church influence? How do you teach about any religion without including what that religion teaches?

(Monsignor Edward Duncan persuaded the school’s trustees to continue letting the Newman Foundation, the Catholic campus ministry, teach Catholicism over objections from university administrators.

From the article, it appears the university has, for quite some time, been uncomfortable with the Newman Center providing a Catholic instructor.

This current controversy might give them the final nudge towards canceling that arrangement.

I am a little confused.
The professor was chosen by the Newman center, but the university could fire or even veto the instructor at will.
And, a person who is not employed by the university cannot teach at the Newman center. (This was why Howell was let go from his position there as well, from what I understand).

So who is meddling in whose affairs? Isn’t the school meddling in church affairs by saying who can teach at the Newman center?

And why would the school provide “religious studies” specifically a class on Catholicism if they were uncomfortable with with it. It is the registrar not the Newman center which determines which classes will be taught and for how many credits. They could provide a comparative religions class instead of specific religion classes. :shrug:

The rule requiring the instructor to work as a professor at the university is self-imposed by the Newman Center, the Diocese of Peoria and the Institute (I’ve forgotten its exact name) which officially pays the salary of that instructor.

The Newman Center, at last word, is not interested in sponsoring an instructor who is not a professor at the University of Illinois

Without a shred of academic integrity, that’s how.

Let’s see, the University allows courses in Catholicism, but then objects that the instructor is “Diocese approved” - in this case, via the Newman Center, which, from what I understand, is faithful to the Magisterium (unlike some others across the country). And not only is he “Diocese-approved”, he’s known and respected across the country for his faithfulness and orthodoxy, giving U of I even more security that he can be trusted.

The Society for the Propagation of the Zeitgeist deems actual Catholicism “hate speech” that must be suppressed.

That article is quite a skewed interpretation of the relationship between U of I and the Newman Center.

Dr. David Delaney (who was a colleague of Dr. Howell’s) wrote an explanation of the relationship between the two entities which is much more enlightening than the Trib article:

They Finally Won: Background on Ken Howell’s Firing

The relationship goes back all the way to 1919. Since 2001, the University has had more (not less) control over the arrangement than ever before.

The article is intentionally skewed. Teaching what the Church teaches in a class on what the Church teaches is not related to the establishment clause in any way, shape or form.

Simple solution:

Newman Center works a deal with the university for U of I students to be eligible to be enrolled in the U of I and simultaneously take classes from professors at the Newman Center accredited through another university (say Catholic U or FUS, or…) and have those credits applied as transfer credits upon completion.

Then the prof can have his affiliation with a genuinely catholic university AND provide access to solid catholic coursework for U of I students.

I am sure that they are not unaware of such a possibility. That does seem like a reasonable solution to me, though the parties involved would probably know more about what it would entail to get something like that to work.

According to his statement on the Facebook page, Dr. Howell has already made that suggestion and it was rejected by the Newman Center.

Why wouldn’t the Diocese want this? I didn’t see an explanation given?
It doesn’t make sense to me.

We can really only speculate, but I’m sure they have legitimate reasons in mind. Perhaps they think such an arrangement with the University would be difficult if they burn their bridges too quickly. Perhaps they will seriously consider such an arrangement if all other efforts fail. We just don’t know. But we do know that they are committed to having Catholic courses taught for the U of I students. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.

Yes, not can I offer an explanation. Speculation, as to the reason, on my part would be poorly founded.

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