Amherst College encourages the free expression of religion for all individuals and groups. It supports Religious Advisors from the Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions who, in turn, are encouraged to develop a culture of respectful dialogue with people of all faiths and no faith. The Religious Advisors have offices in the Cadigan Center for Religious Life, and can be reached through the Center secretary, Cindy Dumais-Holubowich, at 542-8489. Religious Groups and individuals may request permission to use Chapin Chapel and the Cadigan Center through the Administrative Assistant to the Religious Advisors, Diane Dix, 542-2181. Ultimate responsibility for the use of Chapin Chapel and the Cadigan Center rests with the Coordinator for Religious and Spiritual Life for the College, Paul Sorrentino, 542-8149.
Guidelines for Religious Groups on Campus
All official religious groups at Amherst College must register with the Coordinator for Religious and Spiritual Life in the Cadigan Center . All members of a religious group, including advisors, must be willing to subscribe to and function in consonance with the spirit and the specifics expressed in this document. Non-student Advisors to a student group should apply for Adjunct Religious Advisor or Religious Affiliate status by application to the Coordinator for Religious and Spiritual Life. Adjunct status offers such privileges as permission to advise and counsel students; participation in occasional meetings of the Religious Advisors, including joint meetings with Dean of Students staff; use of the Frost Library; parking privileges and access to meeting space and calendars and publications such as “Notes” and the “Student” newspaper. Recognized religious groups may send direct mailings to individuals who identify themselves as members of their particular groups and may make general mailings that carry information about activities and events that are open to the public.
Members of the Amherst community, be they people of faith or of no faith, are encouraged to discuss with one another the richness of their own heritage, values and beliefs. In doing so, the worth of each individual and of the principles which he or she holds dear is affirmed. We recognize that, in discussing topics of deeply held conviction, some offense is always a risk. Such dialogue requires sensitive listening and humility. It is through the work of communicating about our intensely held values that we will learn to appreciate one another and to live with our most significant differences. Religious advisors, adjunct religious advisors and religious affiliates have a special responsibility, as religious leaders, in helping to develop a campus culture of respectful dialogue with people of all faiths and no faith.
It is with the goal of heightened communication that we offer the guidelines listed below.
BEHAVIOR THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE
1. The issuing of materials that threaten, undermine or distort the integrity of another person's or group's beliefs. This is not a prohibition of free expression of ideas, but a commitment to present all options in a way that is respectful of others.
2. Sharing one's faith with anyone without appropriate sensitivity to that person's integrity and freedom to make his or her own decisions in matters of faith and identity.
3. Intruding on the privacy of individuals, by phone, by mail, or by visitation in dormitories, without their permission.
4. The issuance of misleading or false publicity.
5. Actions which are designed to coerce, either physically or emotionally, or which clearly damage a student's academic pursuits, financial status or relationship with parents or peers.
6. The use of language in private and public contexts that is denigrating of or condemnatory of another person's beliefs and/or person.