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French public university names Catholic priest as president

December 23, 2016

A Catholic priest has been named president of the state-run University of Strasbourg, provoking protests from some scholars who see the move as an infringement on state secularity.

Father Michel Deneken had served as vice-president of the university before being elected by the faculty to the top post. But several professors charged that the appointment would compromise the school’s reputation because of the new president’s “close ties to religious authorities.”

Father Deneken said that the protests represented a false view of secularity: “a policy of neutralization, so religions must be banned from the public sphere.”


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