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Spirituality and Religion
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March Case Study 0 M. Samad, The Ohio State University It is with great honor and excitement that we provide learning and professional development opportunities throughout the year. This year, the Contemporary Issues Committee will provide some Case Studies for our region to use on home campuses with departments, colleagues, peers, student staff and students. Enjoy and any feedback is welcome!  Please see the March case study below. Instructions for On-Line Case Study: • The case study will be available until April 4, 2014. • Results can be submitted by video or written summary. • Results must be sent to contemporaryissues@glacuho.org • All submissions are due by 5:00pm EST on April 4, 2014. • The winning results will be posted on the GLACUHO website by April 11, 2014, March Case Study Phillip University is a large public institution in the Southeast. The enrollment of campus is 20,000 with 5,000 residential students living on-campus. The institution has 20 plus student organizations that focus on religion and spirituality. During your on-campus interview, for a full-time position, you presented on the importance of students spiritual development. You were selected for the position and have served as the Resident Director of Ray Hall for the past 3 years. Over the last year, you have seen a rise in students being more aware and vocal about their spiritual/religious beliefs. You have noticed more students state their views and beliefs via door decorations and on social media. Ray Hall has not had many incidents or situations revolving around the topic. However, you received an email from a parent concern about her student, Ashley’s, experience in your residence hall. The parent was questioning how her child could be roomed with an Atheist. The parent has threatened to take their concern to President Williamson if the situation is not handled to their satisfaction. Not necessarily being aware of the situation up to this point, you are caught off guard by the email. You bring the RA, Jasmine, of the floor into your office to see if she is aware of the situation. Jasmine is unaware of the situation, which leads you to ask her to reach out to Ashley. Later that afternoon Ashley makes her way to your office to explain her side of the situation. She shares that while having a casual conversation with her roommate, Emily, she learned that she is Atheist. Ashley proceeds to tell you that the only thing she shared with Emily was her personal beliefs. Ashley ended her version of the story there, and you then call in Emily to share her side of the story. Emily walks into your office a little confused and startled about what the upcoming conversation may entail. She shared that she had disclosed to Ashley she was Atheist; however, Ashley responded you are going to hell. Even though Emily was perturbed, she thought that was the end of the outburst. The next day while Emily was in class, Ashley decided to place crosses around the room and use holy water to cleanse the room. As Ashley performs this cleansing, which is a common ritual for her religious practice, she kneels to pray in the room. During Ashley’s prayer, Emily enters the room and begins to question what Ashley is doing. An argument breaks out where Emily states she is going to report the conversation and what she witnessed to the RA, Jasmine. However, Ashley shared she has already had a conversation with Jasmine about her beliefs and both Jasmine and Ashley confided in each other and they share the same beliefs. Emily shares a feeling of discomfort and isolation on the floor and is now questioning how the rest of the floor feels. 1. What are the present issues/concerns? 2. If doing so, how would you respond to the email? 3. Which campus resources and/or offices do you seek out for assistance? 4. How would you assist the RA with making sure the community is not hindered on her floor? 5. What are the short term impacts? 6. What are the long term impacts?
by M. Samad, The Ohio State University
Friday, April 4, 2014