Yesterday as I was surfing the Insidehighered.com website and saw this story on Boston College who is facing some serious discussions about their efforts to put up crucifixes in the classrooms across campus. Now I can see why an institution like BC has issues with this if not all the professors are Catholic or even some other denomination. I suppose even some Christians might take offense at the presence of the crucifix in an educational setting. The thing I find interesting is that while many want plurality and "objectivity" in the classroom are trying to do so within a Catholic/Jesuit college environment. Both students and faculty are well aware of their history and beliefs when they apply to work or study there.
This is not a lone incident. I've heard a number of students make similar sorts of comments about Augustana College's preferences given toward Christianity. Augustana is a Lutheran ELCA school which, for the most part, is a progressive and open environment to explore religious and philosophical questions, or avoid them altogether. But at its heart it is a Lutheran School, funded by Lutherans, where you are not asked to sign a lifestyle contract nor attend worship, write or sign a credo of belief.
I cannot help but to wonder what is the responsibility of a private religiously affiliated school to provide ample space for religious pluralism? Likewise, at what point do faculty and students simply have to adjust and/accept the historical religious traditions of their given university? What is at stake for the university? What is at stake for faculty and students?