Leftist party Norway wants to cut funding university for marriage clause
The Christian NLA University College in Bergen, Norway, holds onto a traditional view of marriage and sexuality. Therefore, the far-left Rødt party demanded that their funding be cut. However, the Minister of Education does not give in to that request.
The value document of the NLA University College states that marriage is meant for a man and a woman as the "supporting norm in the ethics of cohabitation", Vart Land reports. That led to indignation on the side of Hege Bae Nyholt, the education spokeswoman of the Rødt party and the head of the Education and Research Committee at the Storting. She claims that the clause is discriminatory and demands that NLA University College lose its funding, a total of 315 million NOK (more than 30 million euros). "It contradicts the Education Act's words that all forms of discrimination must be opposed."
During the question time of a meeting of the Storting, Nyholt asked the Minister of Education, Ola Borten Moe, whether she would ask NLA to change its document or to reconsider the government funds it receives.
However, she was met with opposition from the Minister, who denied that she has the authority to cut funding and said that the grants are already fixed in the state budget for next year.
Furthermore, Borten Moe reminded Nyholt of the fact that the Nokut, the institute that watches the equality of education in Norway, concluded last year that there was no evidence that NLA violated its duty to promote and protect academic freedom. According to the Education Minister, schools, such as NLA, "have the right to design their own academic and value-based foundation within the framework of regulations."
Yet, Nyholt was not satisfied with this reply and retorted that freedom of religion in Norway does not mean that anyone can offer a teacher's training. "Everyone who works with children and young people is obliged to ensure children's right to a non-discriminatory environment", she retorted.
She then proceeded to draw connections between the shooting in an Oslo club for LGBT people and the value document of the university. "We saw that being queer in Norway is dangerous", Nyholt said. "Therefore, I think that we as elected representatives must be able to give clear and distinct signals about which values we value most."
Borten Moe strongly disagreed with this statement and distanced herself explicitly from any parallels between the shooting and the university.
Nyholt's statement led to strong reactions in the newspaper Dagen. "If the NLA's value document is removed as a binding norm, then it is no longer a Christian university", Øyvind Hasting writes in an opinion article. He argues that the campaign against the university is based on the modern concept of diversity. "But clearly, neither the NLA nor others who do not share this new religion share in the diversity."
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