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SEN-18-18 A Bill to Request an Interfaith Space at UTK

BILL#: SEN-18-18

TITLE: A Bill to Request an Interfaith Space at UTK

SPONSOR: Kaylee Sheppard, Arts & Sciences Senator/Senate Lobbyist [ksheppa7@vols.utk.edu]   

CO-SPONSORS: Katie Gouge, Off-Campus Senator [kgouge3@vols.utk.edu]    

Owen Flomberg, East Area Senator  [oflomber@vols.utk.edu]

Hannah Nelsen, West Area Senator [hnelsen@vols.utk.edu]   

Sophia Rhoades, Arts& Sciences Senator

[srhoade1@vols.utk.edu]

Joe Staton, At-Large Senator [jstaton4@vols.utk.edu]

 

DATE: NOV 6, 2018

Whereas, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has a diverse population when it comes to religious and spiritual affiliations,

Whereas, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has over 50 student-led organizations that are within the category of “Religious/Faith based” registered through volink as of Fall 2018, (1)

Whereas, many Christian faith-based organizations here at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have spaces for worship and activities located in houses behind Fred Brown Residence Hall,

Whereas, other faith-based organizations such as Muslim Student Association and Hillel Jewish Student Organization do not have permanent spaces for religious activities on campus,

 

Whereas, many minority religious groups do not have adequate spaces currently for religious practices on campus, such as prayer or specific dietary restrictions, which may affect their academic success,

Whereas, interfaith is defined as “involving persons of different religious faiths” per Merriam-Webster dictionary, (2)

Whereas, there is not a physical and permanent space for new students to seek information about different faith based organizations on campus,

Whereas, it would be beneficial to students and faculty to provide a permanent sanctuary for them to go to during school hours to practice their belief in a quiet and private space,

Whereas other universities such as Union College, Penn State, University of Chicago, and many others have created an interfaith space on their campus to provide a space for students and faculty to practice their faith freely and to promote interfaith collaboration and understanding,

 

Be it hereby resolved, that the University of Tennessee, Knoxville install an interfaith space here on campus to be utilized by different faith based groups as well as any independent students who would like to utilize the space for their own individualized worship.

Be it hereby resolved, that representatives from religious organizations, a representative from the Student Government Association, along with various staff members and administration sit on a committee to make decisions about the space.

 

Be it hereby resolved, that a committee be formed with representatives from different religious and spiritual groups on campus to assist in maintaining the space and making decisions once the space is open for students and faculty.

References:

1-   https://volink.utk.edu/organizations?categories=4469

2- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interfaith