Friday, November 21, 2003

Additionally on religious freedom 

Related to this post, the LA Times today reports that most students are in fact religious but "62% report that their professors never encourage discussion of religious or spiritual issues."
Larry A. Braskamp, an education professor at Loyola University Chicago familiar with the UCLA research, agreed that students are interested in exploring spiritual issues but get little support from professors. "Faculty are comfortable dealing with the head, as opposed to the heart. They don't want to be indoctrinating students. So when they get into the area of faith, religion and spirituality, they view them as the personal domains of students."

What's more, some students say discussing spiritual or, in particular, explicitly religious topics in the classroom could create friction.

On the Cal State Northridge campus Thursday, Tikia Roach, a freshman planning to major in psychology, said in an interview:"There are too many people to offend. Why even go there?"

Daria Akhten, a Northridge freshman from West Hollywood majoring in marketing, agreed that, "for some reason, people can't discuss religion in classrooms, discussion-style. It has to be really argumentative."

But Akhten said she wishes that professors would discuss "meaning of life" issues in class. For freshmen in particular, it could be an important source of support, she said. "A lot of people are living on campus and they do stupid things, but professors don't talk about that," Akhten said.
Douglas notes that the original story was on Laura Ingraham's show (and of course, she's in MN today!) [Hat tip: Tongue Tied.]