The University is a multi-faith community and our policies and procedures honor the spirit of this diversity. We are listing below some policies that help maintain respect for particular differences of faith and beliefs comprising such a dynamic community.
The University has long-standing relationships with a number of covenanting communities: Catholic Newman Community, Hillel, the Protestant Chapel Community, the University of Rochester Christian Fellowship and in recent years the Muslim Students Association. Each community has chaplains in place. Some related groups are also supervised by the chaplains of these original communities.
The University also welcomes new religious or spiritual groups and their faith community leaders or advisors as those groups grow and attain official status as a student group on campus. The Director often serves as advisor to newly forming groups, while working with them to develop their chaplaincies or other forms of religious or spiritual leadership in their tradition. In addition, a number of student led groups have developed on campus. These groups are required to register as a student organization. “The How-to Book” available in the Wilson Commons Student Activities Office provides additional information, but the following information is helpful in understanding this process. The Director of the Interfaith Chapel is assigned to work with these religious groups
All student organizations must be registered with the Student Activities Office. The purpose of the registration is to keep accurate records of the names of officers and to keep groups in closer contact with appropriate University offices. Each year the deadline for returning the registration form is September 30th. The privileges listed on the University Rules and Regulations for Student Organizations will be suspended for any groups not registering by that time. Only groups registered by September 30th will be included in the listing of organizations. Participation in Activities Fairs will be limited to registered groups.
The University of Rochester supports and encourages the creation of student organizations established to meet the cultural, social, intellectual, vocational, spiritual, and physical needs of its campus population. All undergraduate student organizations are required to register with the Student Activities Office. The following privileges are provided to registered groups:
Registered student organizations must comply with the rules and regulations listed on the following pages. Failure to comply may result in the suspension or termination of the registration status of the student organization. A suspended/terminated organization is ineligible for these privileges.
College policy and practice are that classes not be dismissed on religious holidays. It is expected, however, that students will not be penalized in any way for observing religious holidays. Instructors are asked not to schedule examinations in conflict with such holidays. (See Religious Holidays.) New York State Education Law provides that students who choose not to attend classes or take exams on certain days because of their religious beliefs will be given an equivalent opportunity to make up the work requirements or exams they miss without penalties.
(Excerpts from: A Guide to Making Safe Judgments About Groups on Campus)
While you are a student on this campus many organizations may ask you to join them. The great majority of these groups are well meaning and constructive, whether they are religious, self-improvement, service, social or political in nature. In addition, there are many individuals and groups on campus who would like to share their “ideas” with you. Often these ideas include values and beliefs they hold about the world around them. They may approach you after class, on your hall, in front of Wilson Commons, or elsewhere. In addition to sharing with you the answers they have found to life’s questions, they may seek to enlist your time, energy and resources in endeavors they believe to be worthwhile. In short, they may ask you to join their groups and make substantial contributions of time and money to their causes.
Although it is healthy for groups to further their causes and recruit new members, some groups use recruiting tactics that are deceitful, manipulative and coercive. The following questions are designed to help you assess a group that seeks your commitment. The question could apply not only when you are being recruited, but also after you have been involved for some time.
If you responded yes to any of these questions, you may want to discuss this with the resource individuals listed below:
The Rev. Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough, Director of Religious & Spiritual Life: 275-8422
International Student Office: 275-2864
University Counseling Center: 275-2361
Distinguished by the diversity of its members, the College welcomes men and women from the various faiths practiced by the world’s peoples. The Interfaith Chapel of the University of Rochester affirms and celebrates a rich mixture of religious expression and heritages. It is a shared expectation that religious advisors and The College will willingly and enthusiastically cooperate to support and protect the integrity of each religious group to coordinate activities for the common good of all and to promote programs of religious interest for the University community.
In welcoming the practice of many religions in The College, open discussion and practice of particular beliefs and traditions by the religious advisors and chaplains of the Interfaith Chapel is expected as they represent and build their faith communities. At the same time, as members of the University community, they are committed to the academic mission of The College, its standards and policies, and to collaborative work with its departments, faculty, staff, students and alumni. In matters of religious practice, The College respects the right of religious groups to set guidelines for participation that are faithful to their traditions.
The College, along with religious advisors and chaplains will support religious freedom on campus by ensuring that their student groups are open to an interested student by allowing students the freedom to participate in and leave groups without being subjected to harassment and by avoiding programs or efforts that obstruct or make it difficult for students to meet their academic obligations. The general activities of the Interfaith Chapel are open to all students.
We build a strong inclusive community through relationships and partnerships with diverse student groups and community organizations, both in The College and beyond campus, in an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, and respect.
The College and its religious advisors and chaplains at the Interfaith Chapel will encourage dialogue about diverse religions and support religious diversity in an open and civil manner. Public statements and activities that denigrate, de-legitmize, or foment prejudice about other religions impinge on growth and learning of students and are unacceptable. The College chaplains will have particular responsibility for promoting dialogue.
Respect for religious heritages of all people is essential. The Interfaith Chapel’s chaplains, advisors, and staff willl actively work to make all people feel at home first by educating themselves about different faith traditions and heritages and then by facilitating inter-religious exploration and learning among students. Active efforts to convert or proselytize have no place in such a setting.
Clear communication is essential to building trust and a sense of community. In keeping with other College policies, members of the Interfaith Chapel will always be careful to acknowledge the particular religious organization they represent, and when publicizing their groups and programs they will clearly identify who they are, the focus of their group or program, and their connections to off-campus organizations.
Religious advisors, chaplains, and staff work cooperatively within the Interfaith Chapel and are expected to approach any disagreements or claims of conscience openly with one another and the Director as a first point of redress. The Director may use the Interfaith Chapel Advisory Board and other University resources as necessary to address such issues.