Policies for Personnel
Religious Life Council
Standards for Organizations
Religious life at Davidson College is celebrated on the affirmation that we are all created in the image of God, brothers and sisters in the human family, whatever our creed, heritage or beliefs.
As a Presbyterian church-related institution of higher learning since its founding in 1837, Davidson stands in the particular strand of Christianity known as the “Reformed tradition.” As the college’s Statement of Purpose indicates, this tradition “recognizes God as the source of all truth, and believes that Jesus Christ is the revelation of that God, a God bound by no church or creed. The loyalty of the college thus extends beyond the Christian community to the whole of humanity and necessarily includes openness to and respect for the world’s various religious traditions.”
The policies and standards which shape the college’s religious life therefore seek to foster a community that values and nurtures the life of the spirit and that engenders freedom of inquiry, conscience and practice.
Policies for Personnel
The College Chaplain serves as pastor to the college community. As the administrator charged with oversight of the college’s religious life, the College Chaplain is the primary institutional liaison for all religious life activities on the campus. Individuals or groups seeking to engage in on-going ministries or religious fellowships at Davidson must consult with the College Chaplain regarding religious life policies and standards, and regarding procedures for registering their organization with the college prior to beginning activity on the campus.
Davidson College welcomes authorized representatives of diverse religious traditions to participate in and nurture religious life at the college. These professionals must be appointed officially in writing by their respective ecclesiastical or para-church agencies, must be accountable to those agencies for their work at Davidson College, and must register with the Office of the Chaplain prior to beginning their work on campus.
All registered religious life representatives shall affirm in writing their willingness to abide by the “Standards for Religious Groups and Campus Ministries at Davidson College.”
Professionals registered with the Office of the Chaplain as religious life representatives are entitled to the following privileges:
- Use of public campus facilities to meet with their constituencies (as defined above), subject to ordinary college restrictions and availability.
- Use of the Campus Ministries office space located in the Campus Center. At the beginning of each academic year, the use of this space shall be scheduled for members of the chaplaincy staff, Campus Ministers/Clergy, and Para-Church Staff Workers. The College Chaplain shall have final discretion over the scheduling of the Campus Ministries office space.
- Announcement through Chaplain’s Office publications and the college’s Religious Life web page of their professional activity on campus.
- Participation in activities related to campus religious life that take place annually during First-year Student Orientation.
- Participation in other aspects of the college’s life as invited by the College Chaplain or other college officials.
Religious Life Council
The Religious Life Council is a representative body in which member organizations may inform one another of planned activities and address issues of concern regarding religious life on campus. The council also provides a forum for the Office of the Chaplain to disseminate information to the various religious life constituencies. The council is chaired by the College Chaplain. Its membership includes the chaplaincy staff, the student leader(s) of each registered religious organization, the faculty/staff advisor of each of these groups, and registered Campus Ministers/Clergy or Para-Church Staff Workers. Although not a policy-making body, the Religious Life Council may forward suggestions regarding changes to college policies and standards related to religious life to the CCRL for consideration in its capacity as an advisory body to the College President, who has authority to approve such changes.
Standards for Organizations and Individuals
1. All student religious groups shall follow the College Union’s Office of Student Activities procedures to be registered student organizations, and they shall abide by established college policies regarding the operation of student organizations.
2. All student religious organizations shall have an official advisor who is a member of the Davidson College faculty or staff. This advisor is in addition to any Campus Minister/Clergy or Para-Church Staff Worker who works with the student organization.
3. The student leaders and staff/faculty advisors of all student religious groups shall participate regularly in scheduled meetings of the Religious Life Council.
4. All Campus Ministers/Clergy and Para-Church Staff Workers (religious life “representatives” of ecclesiastical or non-denominational religious agencies) shall register with the Office of the Chaplain for the privilege of working on the Davidson College campus. They shall participate regularly in scheduled meetings of the Religious Life Council. The College Chaplain shall serve as the primary college liaison for all such representatives in conducting the exercise of their professional duties on the campus. Davidson College reserves the right to rescind at any time the privilege of a religious life representative to work on the campus.
5. Religious groups and representatives shall recognize that Davidson College seeks to promote a campus atmosphere in which a diversity of religious faiths and expressions of spiritual life are respected and productively engaged.
6. Religious groups and representatives shall respect the right of students to maintain privacy, to accept, question or reject religious faith, and to affiliate with, decline to affiliate with, or disaffiliate themselves from any religious organization on campus.
7. While Davidson College recognizes that appropriate expressions of evangelism may be integral to a group’s religious convictions and activities, the following behaviors are examples of actions which are not acceptable: door to door or other organized campaigns within residence halls (where students rightly expect their privacy to be respected), whether by students or representatives; visual displays or organizational announcements in classroom space; literature or survey campaigns where individuals cannot easily or comfortably avoid being approached by those distributing the literature or surveys; intrusion through unwanted or unannounced visits, phone calls or mailings (including email); persistence in personal invitations of any kind to a group’s meetings or activities after the invitee has clearly indicated a desire not to participate in that group’s life or activities. This list is not exhaustive.
8. Religious life representatives shall follow all campus rules and regulations, including residence hall policies which prohibit entering such halls unless invited and escorted by a Davidson College student or staff member, and religious life policies which specify the purposes for which these representatives function on campus and the constituencies with which they may meet.
9. Religious groups and representatives shall not engage in actions which have an adverse impact on the academic or vocational pursuits or the emotional or physical well-being of students, or which by force or coercion (physical or psychological) cause students to be absent from campus or from activities which are a regular aspect of a liberal arts education (e.g., study abroad). Further definitions of harassment may be found in the Code of Responsibility in the Student Handbook (“Red Book”).
10. Religious groups shall clearly identify the name of their organization on all publicity, displays, or other organizational materials posted, distributed or erected on campus.
11. Religious life representatives shall clearly identify themselves as representing their particular ecclesiastical or para-church agency (and not the Office of the Chaplain or Davidson College) in all publicity or communications with students, parents, the press, or the general public. False or deceptive promotions or advertising concerning a religious group, its activities, or its representatives are prohibited.
12. Religious groups and representatives shall keep the Office of the Chaplain apprised of their activities, notifying that office of any changes in a group’s regular meeting time(s) and of any and all occasional activities sponsored by the group.
13. Infractions of these standards by student religious organizations may result in a referral to the Office of the Dean of Students for possible sanctions based on Code of Responsibility violations.
If religious groups or representatives engage in practices or behaviors which adversely affect an individual’s or the public welfare, health, or safety on the campus or which are clearly contrary to the fundamental purposes for which the college exists, the college has the right to intervene to stop such activity. The college reserves the right to rescind the privilege of any registered religious life representative to work on the Davidson College campus.