The United States’ colleges and universities rest in the middle of some of the country’s most contentious conversations. Whether it’s race, freedom of speech, religious freedom or student loans, universities have plenty to wrestle with. Christian higher education is no exception.
Much of the frustration for those seeking solutions to these issues is knowing how to speak to each other, says Shirley Hoogstra serves as the president of Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
“Today, we are not as equipped to work with difference. Sometimes we want to shutdown difference. Sometimes we want to demonize difference,” said Hoogstra. In times when dialogue is a challenge, Christian colleges have done a good job of welcoming different viewpoints, even those they adamantly disagree with, and responding civilly to these perspectives, she said.
“Just like we want the government to be committed to this freedom of speech and freedom of association for religious concepts, beliefs, and values, Christians have to be concerned about beliefs, values, and commitments they may not agree with either and model this sort of convicted civility...that makes America this great democracy that is still a beacon to the world.”
Hoogstra joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the tensions of online education, how one CCCU school president made peace with a prominant LGBTQ state legislator, and why Christian colleges have a leg up on their secular counterparts when discussing race.