Separation of State and…Church Related Institution?

by dovetailedlife

I’ve been getting into The Chronicle at Duke recently.  It’s published every day and has some interesting articles about a wide range of topics.

Today’s front page article was entitled “Methodist ties spark modern debate” You can read it online here.

The article explores the problems that Duke’s campus police might run into, after the North Carolina court system dismissed charges against a Davidson College student who was arrested by Davidson police for Driving Under the Influence.  She claimed that (taken from the article),

her arrest by a campus police officer was an excessive and unconstitutional government entanglement with religion.

Essentially, they (the NC Court of Appeals) decided that because Davidson is considered to be a religious institution or at least retains “significant religious ties”, the college must be stripped of its rights to exercise state police power.

Really? The girl was driving while impaired, and was arrested and all charges dropped against her because Davidson police can’t arrest because of their religious affiliation?

The article goes on to talk about how this might affect Duke:

Indeed, Durham-based attorney Bill Thomas plans to challenge Duke University Police Department’s arrest powers on the same grounds.

“I think you’ll see that in the immediate future,” Thomas told the Herald-Sun.

He added that language in Duke’s bylaws suggests an “adherence to the Christian tradition and [the promotion of] Christianity.” He did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Chronicle.

Jerk.

This brings up an interesting idea. How can a school like Duke (private, religiously affiliated, yet relatively large) police its own campus?  If Duke were to have to call city police each time there is an incident, Durham police might have to provide Duke its own sector. Hmmm…we’d be back to where we are today.

I know very little about policing a college campus (although I have been involved in the process from time to time) but I would imagine that on a campus the size of Duke, officers must often be trained in specifics relative to the institution as well as typical training.

At Florida Southern, when there was a crisis that called for police action, we called the Lakeland Police Department.  But, we had very few of these instances and we didn’t have the Cameron Crazies. Really, have you seen the Duke v. UNC games?

Duke University is a very reputable school that still (unlike many) has maintained its early Methodist (or even religious) ties. As it grows and expands, shouldn’t it be allowed to be able to police its campus?

Only one more thing: MADD posts this statistic on their website:

In 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). These deaths constitute 31.6 percent of the 37,261 total traffic fatalities in 2008. (Source:NHTSA, 2009)

No one should be allowed to drive while impaired with anything, get caught, and go free because they claim the arrest was unconstitutional.

I think that not killing someone is a Christian ideal.  A religious institution should be able to enforce this, just as state police can.

Drunk driving is against the law. Period.  Don’t do it.

This is utterly ridiculous.

-B

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