The value of a liberal school

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Schools have a lot to be proud of. Whether it be athletics or rich history. The University of Indianapolis is no different. In my short four years, I have seen growth and development that have pushed the university forward.

I have seen at least three buildings opened, Hanna Avenue completed, and more academic programs started than I can even count.

With all of these, I also have seen UIndy break boundaries socially.

Last year, when Proposition 8 was the hot button topic, UIndy took a stand. After university-wide discussion, President Robert Manuel sent a campus wide email informing us all that the university would stand against Prop 8.

UIndy stood on the right side of history with this decision to stand up for equality. Actions like this make me fall in love with UIndy all over again.

While the university has a religious affiliation, actions like this put them in a more liberal framework.

The word liberal can be associated with many things. Some of the main connotations have to do with freedom. Historically,  religion is often associated with a more closed state of mind. Religious followers are open to the word of  God, but closed off to many social issues. Because of this, I am sometimes skeptical of schools with religious affiliations. As a product of Catholic grade school, I have seen this mindset in action. With this being said, I have found the exact opposite with UIndy.

The United Methodist Church affiliation supplements the education UIndy gives its student. Look at the religion classes themselves. I have taken two courses that dealt with religion exclusively: World Religions and Christianity. Both professors approached religion with a general understanding that others need. They were passionate about their personal religions, but recognized the need to present facts along with faith.

Even in my non-religion classes, the subject matter is real world and subjective. I am not just a passive learner, but also a well-informed, inquisitive student. I have my own voice. I do not feel censored when I want to discuss controversial topics. These topics are actually encouraged.

In the instance of Prop 8, President Manuel wanted to hear from the student body, whether a person was for or against the resolution. This complicated topic was broken down and all opinions were willingly heard. It is that type of thinking that moves a community forward.

In January of this year,  former governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels came under fire for what many news outlets called alleged textbook censorship. Daniels denied this allegation, insisting that he was only concerned about the academic integrity of the book as a whole.

It may never be known what Daniels meant by his comment, but think about the implications of this type of controversy. It creates mistrust between students and administration. Some of my textbooks have been pretty raw and presented topics that forced me to think.

Purdue continues to innovate and be one of the major public universities in the states. It is always moving forward. UIndy may not be of the same caliber in terms of funding or numbers, but we are there in innovations.

Students, staff and faculty should realize what they have at UIndy. They have free range to teach subject matters that may not exactly align with what is presented by a faith, but it focuses on the leadership and service. These are the qualities that define a university, not its religious affiliations.

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