Concordia University is the latest educational institution to come out against the Parti Québécois’s proposed secular charter.

If passed, Bill 60 would see workers in the public sphere such as teachers and doctors banned from wearing religious symbols.

Yesterday, the university’s senate and board of governors released a joint statement denouncing the charter.

“The Concordia University community wishes to make known its disagreement with certain key elements of the proposed charter of secular values, and urges the Government of Quebec to amend the draft legislation significantly before seeking its passage,” the university said in a statement.

The decision comes after months of consultation and discussion with the university community.

School community supports anti-charter stance

Concordia president Alan Shepard said more than 200 members of the university wrote him directly to express their views.

Shepard said an “overwhelming majority expressed their dissent.”

The university listed three main reasons for its stance against Bill 60:

  • Its history and current circumstances.
  • The anticipated effects on recruitment and retention.
  • The democratic principle of the autonomy of universities everywhere.

Concordia direction did acknowledge that it supported some of the ideals behind the legislation, including the secular nature of the state and the equality between men and women.

But senate and board of governors agreed that the prohibition against wearing religious symbols went too far.

“The prohibition against visible religious symbols would affect our more than 7,000 full and part-time employees,” the statement said.

The university plans to submit its position to the government by Friday, the deadline for submitting comments before hearings begin in January.