April 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Arizona State University will soon offer classes in theology and Catholic studies, thanks to a cooperative agreement with a Catholic university in North Dakota.

Classes will be taught by faculty from the University of Mary, and students will pay tuition to that Bismarck school, but the instruction will take place in Arizona State’s Catholic student center. The classes will begin this fall, and some will be eligible for credit toward a degree at Arizona State. Other courses in the program will be credited at University of Mary.

Arizona State officials have denied that the program is an endorsement of a specific theology, but not everyone is convinced.

Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser told Inside Higher Ed, “This seems like a special relationship between a religious university and a state university. That can create an impression that this university endorses this particular institution or the Catholic religion specifically.”