Interfaith Council Governance

A. Purpose 

  1. The Interfaith Council (IFC) exists to promote and enhance Rutgers University’s mission of educating the whole person. The IFC seeks to create an atmosphere in which groups and individuals affiliated with the University are engaged in the active pursuit of intellectual and spiritual truths.
  2. The IFC exists to assist and advise Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office in matters relating to religious groups on the Camden Campus and to advise Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office, as appropriate, on groups requesting formal designation as a Chaplaincy; to ensure Chaplaincies recognized on campus are all inclusive and to help differentiate between a chaplaincy and an affiliated congregation.
    1. An affiliated congregation is a place of worship in the Camden City area. These places of worship do not have staff on campus serving in a Chaplain role, but rather wish to promote their services to the Rutgers community.
    2. Designation as an affiliated congregation does not include membership on the IFC nor does it come with the same rights and privileges granted to IFC members.

B. Membership 

The IFC is composed of the following:
  1. Chaplains recognized by the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office.
  2. Student representatives appointed to enhance representation of the religious diversity of the campus, especially in the case of faith traditions not otherwise represented on the IFC. Student representatives have voice but not vote and are appointed by the Chair in consultation with the membership of the IFC.
  3. Members of the Division of Student Affairs:
    1. Dean of Students or his/her designee
    2. Director of the Campus Involvement Office or his/her designee.
    3. Executive Director of Residential Life or his/her designee.
    4. Representative from the University Wide Bias Prevention Committee.
  4. Others
    1. One representative of Counseling Services
    2. One representative of Camden Public Information
    3. One member of the Faculty
    4. One representative from Admissions

C. Meetings 

  1. The IFC, chaired by the Dean of Students, or a person represented by Division of Student Affairs or his/her designee, will meet three times a year in September, January and April and/or as needed and convened by the Chair.
  2. Attendance
    1. The meetings are mandatory for all recognized Chaplains except as excused by the Chair for valid reasons.
    2. Excessive unexcused absences will be cause for loss of membership from the IFC and loss of University privileges.
  3. A quorum will be considered half the IFC membership.
  4. An agenda setting committee, appointed by the Chair, will consist of two to three members of the IFC, with representation from recognized Chaplaincies and University staff. The committee will be responsible for soliciting and setting agenda items.
 

D. Duties and Expectations 

  1. The IFC will work with the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office to review and adopt Guidelines for Designation of Chaplaincies, which shall apply to all groups that intend to sponsor a Chaplain or operate on the campus.
  2. The IFC shall review the petitions of religious groups intending to sponsor Chaplains. At the discretion of the Chair of the IFC, a committee may be appointed to review any petitions. Once reviewed, the IFC will advise, as appropriate, the Associate Chancellor of Student Affairs, who will then exercise final University approval.
  3. The IFC will work with the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office to adopt and review "Guidelines for the Designation of Chaplains" and shall make recommendations to the Director of Student Life, as appropriate, of those members asking for recognition as Chaplains with all the rights and privileges attached to that designation.
  4. The IFC shall serve as a resource, as needed, to the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office in the process of recognizing student religious organizations not intending to sponsor Chaplains.
  5. The IFC shall request at its April meeting each year an Annual Report for each recognized campus religious group.
  6. The IFC shall discuss actions deemed harmful to the University community, its religious groups, and/or individuals, and shall work with the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office or other University officials to promote healthy public religious life on campus in accordance with the mission of the University as a public institution in the State of New Jersey.
 

E. The Process

The registration process is on an annual basis; application for each academic year is available during the prior spring semester. No applications will be accepted after September 30th of each academic year. The attached guidelines and forms shall be used by the IFC to fulfill its duties, and by religious groups and Chaplains operating or seeking to operate on campus as University-recognized Chaplaincy or Chaplains:
  1. Guidelines for Designation as a Chaplaincy
  2. Guidelines for Recognition of Chaplains
  3. Guidelines for Activities and Behavior of Chaplaincies on Campus
  4. Rights and Privileges of Recognized Chaplains
 

F. Guidelines for Designation as a Chaplaincy 

The Interfaith Council (IFC), through the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office, will recognize religious groups applying for designation on campus which are those groups that intend to sponsor Chaplains based on the following principles:
 
  1. The group can demonstrate the presence of a population of at least 10 affiliated students already on the Camden campus, or can present a plan for how to form a group of students without violating the Guidelines for Activities and Behaviors of Chaplaincies on Campus.
  2. Either:
    1. The group is a religious denomination, or collection of denominations (e.g., Rutgers Protestant Campus Ministries) not already represented on campus, or
    2. The group can show, in their mission statement that their mission differs in a significant way from the mission statement of the group that is recognized.
      1. Point B requires some clarification by example. Suppose that a group that claims to be Episcopalian, but is not the group of Chaplains commissioned by the Diocese of New Jersey (namely, the Episcopal Campus Ministry), applies for recognition by the IFC. The new group would have to show that their mission statement differs in some significant way from that of the Episcopal Campus Ministry, and that their ministry would not be one of mere duplication. The subtleties of this question will be left to the IFC. At the discretion of the Chair of the IFC, a committee may be appointed to review any application.
    3. There will be a provisional period of one academic year during which time the religious group can try to form a community on campus. At the end of the academic year, the IFC will review the success of the group in forming such a community. At the April meeting of the academic year, the IFC will recommend one of the following actions is taken by the University: (1) confer designation, (2) extend the provisional period, or (3) reject the group’s application if they have failed to form a community of students. The provisional period will not exceed three years; at that point, the IFC will make a determination as to whether or not they will recommend or reject the application for designation by the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and the Campus Involvement Office. If an application has been rejected, a group can apply again only after one full year has passed.
 

G. Guidelines for Recognition of Chaplains 

The Interfaith Council, through the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students and the Campus Involvement Office, will recognize individuals as Chaplains based on the following qualifications:
  1. If the affiliated group has a process for endorsing a Chaplain (ordination, assignment by a bishop or governing board, etc.), the Chaplain is so endorsed.
  2. The Chaplain agrees to follow the Guidelines for Activities and Behavior of Chaplaincies on Campus.
  3. The Chaplain agrees to make a commitment to serve on campus for at least one academic year.
  4. The Chaplain agrees to follow all University guidelines and policies.
 

H. Guidelines for Activities and Behavior of Chaplaincies on Campus 

The following actions are judged to be injurious to the health, safety, and public welfare of the University community, and are not acceptable activities on the part of Chaplaincies on campus.
  1. Any action that adversely impacts the academic or vocational pursuits of students or their health.
  2. Seeking to force or coerce -physically, emotionally, or by harassment -any student into religious activity or affiliation. This would include attempts to change the religious affiliation of a student by emotional pressure, harassment, or disparagement of other groups or doctrines.
  3. Any action that removes students by pressure or force from the campus. By pressure is meant peer pressure, emotional pressure, or the pressure that arises from the strong relationship of a student to a group or a particular Chaplain.
  4. Actions that adversely impact the financial status or conditions of students.
  5. Engaging in false or deceptive promotions or advertising concerning a group or its activities. This includes both direct deception (e.g., claiming that a group is something that it is not), and deception by omission (e.g., failing to disclose that a campus religious group is affiliated with a particular religious organization).
  6. Intruding by uninvited visit at dining hall tables, into residence halls or other private  areas in which students should properly expect privacy, or by making solicitous  phone calls to students unassociated with the organization.
  7. Barraging students with repeated and or unwanted mail, e-mail, or text messages.
  8. The importation of non-students or others unrelated to the university who pose as students for the sake of solicitation.
  9. Chaplaincies on campus will adhere to all Rutgers University policies and procedures, and local, state and federal laws. All activities must comply in full with the regulations established in the Rutgers University Code of Conduct, Rutgers University Sexual Harassment Policy, as well as any other agreements made with authorized University officials regarding such activities.

Fundamentally, students have the right to choose their religious affiliation, or even to choose no affiliation. They have the right to be free of undue religious pressure. They have the right to choose their own friends, to make their own career decisions, to choose their own classes and majors, to read the books they want and to discuss the ideas that interest them, and to relate to their families in the way that they choose. These rights of choice should be acknowledged and respected by all recognized Chaplains.

 

I. Rights and Privileges of Recognized Chaplains 

Chaplains recognized by the University will have the following rights and privileges:
  1. University guest identification card
  2. Access to facilities, and the right to reserve facilities for programmatic activities with the Reservation, Scheduling, and Space Utilization Policy  Rutgers-Camden Campus under the direction of the Campus Involvement Office
  3. Access to parking in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Rutgers Camden Parking and Transportation Department
  4. University internet account (guest RCI account)
  5. Access to promotional tools, including the ability to
    1. receive university-wide e-mail distributions
    2. submit event announcements to REACT and What’s Happening for on campus sponsored events under the direction of the Campus Involvement Office
    3. Post fliers on bulletin boards under the direction of the Campus Involvement Office.
  6. Ability to act as a secondary advisor to student clubs and organizations. It is understood that any club or organization for which a recognized Chaplain is an advisor will follow the Guidelines for Activities and Behaviors of Religious Groups on Campus as well as the guidelines of the Student Organization and Advisor Handbook, as issued by the Campus Involvement Office.
  7. Library privileges to use the Rutgers Camden Paul Robeson Library.  This does not extend to borrowing privileges.
  8. Access to recreation facilities