One of the core values of Amherst College is tolerance and understanding. In the spirit of these values, The Multifaith Council will create programs which strengthen the sense of mutual understanding between students of different religious affiliations. It will work alongside the Office of Religious Life to amplify the message that learning about other religions in a respectful way is an important part of an Amherst education.
The structure of the Multifaith Council will minimize the presence of a formal hierarchy, which could create tensions within the organization. However, it will have at the very least a small executive committee comprised of a President, Vice President, and Staff Advisor, or alternatively two co-Presidents and a Staff Advisor. The Staff Advisor will be a member of the Religious Life Staff or the Department of Religion at Amherst. Should the Staff Advisor be unable to continue in his/her post, the club can nominate and vote upon an alternative Staff/Faculty Advisor based on “majority rule.” In this way, the Multifaith Council will minimize the presence of politics on its board, yet maintain a sufficient number of “point people” for the purposes of acquiring funds and attending official discussions for club leaders at Amherst.
Elections for the post of President, co-President, and/or Vice President must take place at the end of every Fall semester and if any of the aforementioned club officers steps down. Anonymous voting, either via ballot or another agreed upon method, will take place after all candidates have the chance to present themselves and explain why they believe they are a suitable choice for the given post. Each candidate should take no more than 5 minutes, unless the group decides otherwise based on “majority rule.” After elected, the officers will serve for one year and may be re-elected for a second term. Following two terms, preference should be given to other interested candidates, unless none express an interest in becoming an officer.
A President, co-President, and/or Vice President May
-Call for Multifaith Council meetings
-Meet on behalf of the Multifaith Council with other faculty, staff, and students at Amherst College
-Compile a list of proposed activities for the semester
-Oversee activities to ensure they are completed according to plans agreed upon by the entire club
The Staff Advisor May
-Provide advice and ideas to the student members of the Multifaith Council
-Overturn vetoes on specific programs (see below)
-Lead and facilitate optional training sessions for members of the Multifaith Council-Lead evaluations of activities to determine the pros and cons of any given event
Deciding Upon Club Activities
All proposed club activities will be presented to the entire club and voted upon by all present members (or via e-mail in absentia). While a simple “majority rule” will be used to choose between available club activities in most circumstances, activities which appear to be potentially offensive can be vetoed by any two or more club members and only overturned by the Staff Advisor. This is because the primary goal of the Multifaith Council is to improve relations between members of different religious groups. Though differences of taste will certainly arise, any legitimate concern that a program may run counter to the aim of religious tolerance on campus is cause enough to forego a proposed activity.
The Multifaith Council is an inter-religious organization set on improving relations between religious groups represented at Amherst College. The Multifaith Council hopes to increase opportunities for students to learn about one another’s religions and to promote public service activities as part of our shared commitment to bettering our community. Its ultimate goal is to foster the mutual respect and learning experiences which Amherst prides itself on.