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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

UST Law has unplanned controversy over volunteer credits

There is a article worth reading on MinnPost about the University of St. Thomas School of Law. A student at the school was apparently denied "volunteer credits" (required by the school as part of its curriculum) for volunteer work done with Planned Parenthood.

According to MinnPost, Dean Thomas Mengler announced in a campuswide letter that students would not receive credit for volunteering at Planned Parenthood or any other organization "whose mission is fundamentally in conflict with a core value of a Catholic university."

The story goes on to note:

Several dozen St. Thomas law students signed an open letter to Mengler earlier this week, which voiced concerns about the law school's ability to attract a diverse range of students, both those who agree with the church's teachings and those who do not. (For the full MinnPost article, click here.)

It's a difficult conflict between the school's religious underpinnings and principles of academic freedom. The school seems to be leaning toward resolving this particular controversy in favor of the former, which could make the school a more difficult sell, particularly to nonCatholic students. On the other hand, being too flexible on this issue could threaten the young school's core identity. Nobody ever said being a law school with a mission would be easy ...

UPDATE: Jonathan Kaminski over at CityPages' blog "The Blotter," who I believe was the first to report the UST/ Planned Parenthood story, reports that a conservative UST Law students' group has thrown its support behind Mengler.


Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the student volunteer at Planned Parenthood on her own time if she feels strongly about it? Why can't she volunteer for something else for the credits?

Anonymous said...

According to the news reports, that's exactly what she's doing now.