ERIC Number: ED255103
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Religious Uses of the College Union: Whose Temple Is It? Part One and Part Two.
Johnson, David E.; Nelson, Stephen J.
ACU-I Bulletin, v52 n5,6 Oct, Dec 1984
The relationship of college unions and student personnel services to religious groups on campus is examined in this two part article. In part one, attention is focused on the purposes of the college union, important concepts in the nation's religious history, and actions of the courts. It is noted that legal actions and court cases have focused on the debate over the relationship between campus religious groups and the higher education institutions of which these groups are a part. Court decisions suggest that religious programs advocating a particular religion or religion in general, when sponsored by a student government, union, or other official entity, should be avoided. However, it is legal to sponsor programs that examine values and in which religious lifestyles are compared and contrasted, as long as the religious lifestyles portrayed are only representative and not encouraged. Also, forced participation in religious exercises at private universities may constitute a denial of freedom of exercise. As long as universities treat student groups equally regarding meeting space and support, they are in compliance with court rulings. Part two of the article focuses on demands placed on the student union by religious groups and the union's responses. Issues that unions may face include: student demands to support a boycott (e.g., lettuce and grape boycotts), and the nature and degree of proselytizing and evangelizing that religious groups can engage in when using the student union. In considering the educative role of student activities and college union departments, active partnerships may be formed with the chaplain, campus ministry, and local clergy in developing ways to present basic infomation about religion, and tactics and dangers associated with aggressive cults and sects. Referral networks for counseling on religious issues and advisory groups to deal with religious concepts may also be formed cooperatively. It is suggested that while the college union is not engaged in ministry, per se, it can offer the space and environment for discussions of sensitive human issues. (SW)
Descriptors: Activism, Clergy, College Students, Compliance (Legal), Court Litigation, Discussion Groups, Extracurricular Activities, Higher Education, Legal Responsibility, Moral Issues, Religion, Religious Factors, Religious Organizations, Role Perception, State Church Separation, Student Participation, Student Personnel Workers, Student Unions
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Counselors; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Association of College Unions-International, Bloomington, IN.
Identifiers: Campus Ministry