The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, University Acts, and Religious Freedoms

Cynthia Maughan v University of British Columbia et al

(2008 BCSC, 2009 BCCA, 2010 Supreme Court of Canada)


APPELLANT-STUDENT Cynthia Maughan’s LEAVE TO APPEAL to the SUPREME COURT OF CANADA


LEGAL TEAMS for the University and the Faculty

The University and Faculty retained two different teams of lawyers to represent them. I was a self-represented litigant completing my graduate degree and working over the years during which this case proceeded through the courts, and without resources. The lead lawyers for those teams are considered the best lawyers in Canada. Joseph Arvay, Q.C. considered the best public law lawyer in Canada fighting multiple landmark cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, led the faculty team. (He died suddenly on December 7, 2020. Although I didn’t know him except in an adversarial role over the years that this case went on, he was always respectful. Only God can judge our hearts.)


KEY ISSUES

  • A Professor’s Academic Freedom to Judge Christian Students in Academic Assessments on the Basis of the Student’s Religious Beliefs
    • as having an “agenda of resistance”
    • as having “religiosity” and “religious scruples”
    • as being academically “impaired” by their religious beliefs
  • A Christian Student’s Academic Freedom to Pursue “Fruitful Avenues” of Biblical Inquiry in Response to A Professor’s
    Atheist Critique of the Bible in Class Material
    • Supervising students away from responding to Biblical research presented in class.
  • Individual Professors Judging the Sincerity of a Student’s Religious Beliefs to Qualify for an Abstention from a Sunday Class
    • university oversight of professors judging the sincerity of “practicing Christians’ “religious beliefs
      • whether the student can legitimately abstain from a Sunday class
        • are a regular church attendee
        • proof of religious beliefs
  • Important University Classes Held on Sundays Contrary to The University Calendar
    • ad hoc scheduling of classes on Sunday by individual professors
    • scheduling a class(es) on Sunday after a course has begun precluding students from withdrawing without penalty.
  • Observing Sunday without Penalty: Christian Student Right to Fulfillment of Accommodation Agreements
    • the obligation of universities to require a remedy for a professors’ failure or refusal to fulfill an accommodation agreement
  • University Senate Appeals Committees and “Officious BystanderFaculty” Attacking” Students at a Grade Appeal
    • identified as quasi-judicial after the fact thereby allowing for “officious bystander” faculty at a student’s grade appeal
    • “officious bystander” faculty permitted to distribute letters to the committee “attacking” the student and “descending well beneath Charter values” in response to the students “Holy Day Observance without Penalty” grade appeal, without providing for:
      • a confidentiality policy to protect the student
      • a remedy for the student

LEAVE TO APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

LEAVE TO APPEAL that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to The University Act to:

  • guarantee equal academic freedom and free speech rights to students of faith; and,
  • eliminate ad hoc university discretion and interferences with student religious expression and practice by allowing university bureaucracy to pick and choose from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

ARGUMENT

Argument: Leave to Appeal Argument

The lower courts erred by:

  • not considering the key evidence of the Plaintiff’s sworn testimony and evidence that she is a “practicing Christian”, and the admission by the defendants that she is a “practicing Christian” both in the Admissions of Truth and in their Statement of Defence, and instead failing to find the Plaintiff-student was not a practicing Christian, but rather a Christian with “religious scruples” and “religiosity”
  • making a finding that the CAUT concluded permitted faculty to assess the sincerity of the plaintiff-students’ religious beliefs
  • excluding from consideration the professor-student power imbalance.
  • failing to find for the plaintiff-students’ religious freedom to:
    • absent herself from the Sunday Classes without penalty; and,
    • pursue fruitful avenues of religious inquiry and expression.

PDF Argument – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada   HTML Argument – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada PART III


FACTS

KEY FACTS: The “practicing Christian” Plaintiff student:

  • was academically assessed by faculty in the written academic assessment based on faculty’s suspicions of her religious motivations which faculty identified as her “agenda of resistance”
  • abstained from a Sunday Class following university procedure that permits students to abstain without penalty, but the Plaintiff-Student was not accommodated with a review off her draft by the professor as were the other students breaking the written accommodation agreement
  • was criticized in writing by faculty for writing a linguistically researched paper that proved a Biblical misquotation by Derrida in assigned reading
  • made numerous efforts over a prolonged period of time to all levels of the university to amicably resolve the matter by simply having the accommodation agreement fulfilled
  • was “attacked” in a manner that “descended well beneath Charter values” according to the Senate Appeals Committee in written letters by colleagues of the faculty member who were effectively unknown to the plaintiff-student and/or had brief or no knowledge of the matter before the Senate Committee.
  • was refused her request to disallow the above “Senate letters” attacking her prior to the Senate hearing despite the Senate not having a confidentiality policy to protect her, and no remedy for the harm done to her.
  • was denied consideration of the fiduciary duty to protect fee paying students

denied consideration of the the teacher-student power imbalance

PDF Facts – Appeal to be Head at the Supreme Court of Canada Part I  HTML Facts – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada Part I


QUESTIONS ASKED OF SCC TO RESOLVE

Key QUESTIONS Asked to be Resolved by the Supreme Court of Canada:

  • are University Acts above Charter scrutiny and interpretation?
  • do faculties’ academic freedom rights trump a student’s right to religious freedom so that faculty may assess a student based on faculty’s knowledge or speculation about the student’s religious motivations or beliefs?
  • do universities and lower courts have the right to judge an individuals religious beliefs as merely, or derogatorily, “religious scruples” or “religious conduct” but which does not meet the measure of religious freedom protection?

does a trial judge have the discretion to exclude Admissions of Truth

 PDF Questions Asked – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada Part II HTML Questions – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada.Parts I-III Above Scanned Originals

REPLIES to Respondent University and Faculty


REPLY to the University and Faculty’s SCC submissions

  • The Appellant-Student is on the Dean’s List and in Top 15% of UBC Students
  • Specific References to Distinctions Between “Religion” v  “Religiousity”
  • “Religious Scruples” Made in Lower Courts Outlined (Scanned) 

Reply to UBC and Faculty Responses (Scanned)


MOTION TO ADDUCE NEW EVIDENCE

MOTION to Adduce New Evidence: Pattern of Faculty Association Contriving Complaints  to Garner Faculty and Legal Resources Against Practicing Christians

(Scanned) Motion to Adduce New Evidence (Scanned)


REPLY to Faculty Respondent

Evidence Christian Student Has Always Welcomed Free and Open Academic Debate Against Christianity

(Scanned) Reply to Motion to Adduce New Evidence (Scanned)


SUPREME COURT OF CANADA DECISION in  Maughan v UBC Leave to Appeal

 SCC Decision in Maughan v UBC et al

Cynthia L Maughan v University of British Columbia et al: Appellant (Maughan’s) Leave to Appeal

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