As a graduating senior at BYU, I have been interested in the recent topics of discussion at the Sunstone symposium held in Salt Lake City. The topic of academic freedom among professors at BYU has particularly drawn my interest.
Many of the professors have stated that in order for BYU to accomplish its purpose, it must separate itself from the church, since the church's guidelines and policies often come in conflict with many professors' academic pursuits.I must state that I am 100 percent opposed to this point of view. I believe that those who have made such proposals have lost contact with the mission and purpose of BYU. Certainly, BYU is one of the outstanding academic institutions in the western United States. However, it is much more than just an academic institution. It is a center of religious learning and preparation.
I chose to attend BYU because of its unique religious environment and the type of moral principles that are stressed at the university. If I were interested in pursuing pure academia, I could have chosen other universities. I believe that those professors who disagree with BYU's viewpoints on academic freedom ought to consider the same.
I suggest that while at BYU, they do not put their own academic pursuits above the higher purposes of the institution. That is to provide an environment in which students may prepare themselves for all areas of life (family, church, community, professional and academic). I believe that the church's control of BYU has helped to ensure that this type of education is available.
I am disgusted by those professors and other speakers who refuse to see the higher purposes of this particular university and have suggested that the church abandon BYU so that they can pursue only the academic side of education.