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-Christian Dorm at a Public University?

by Dr. D ~ October 4th, 2013

English: Hawkins Hall on the Troy University c...

                         (Troy University campus: Wikipedia)

Should a public university offer a dorm which is primarily designated for Christians and Christian values but open to all?

Troy University in Alabama has recently opened a ‘faith-based’ dorm in connection with the Catholic Newman Student Housing Fund which includes a Catholic-run ministry center. Here’s the story from the New York Times:

TROY, Ala. — There are many clues that life at the newest residence hall on the campus of Troy University is not centered on parties and beer. In the lobby, students with Bibles gather to offer Christian testimony. On a dorm-room door, a chalkboard holds a passage from Psalms.

And in the 2,300-square-foot Catholic-run ministry center, evenings are given over to clergy-led discussions on the meaning of God and a few good-natured rounds of “Stump the Priest.”

Citing reports from students who say they are hungry for more faith-based options on campus and national surveys that show a strong interest in spirituality among college freshman, officials at Troy, Alabama’s third-largest public university, this semester opened the Newman Center residence hall, a roomy 376-bed dormitory that caters to students who want a residential experience infused with religion.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The article mentions that some universities already provide ‘Kosher’ dorms to respond to the needs of Jewish students. I have also read of several colleges and universities which are now trying to provide for the unique needs of their Muslim students within dorms. If this was merely private sponsored and run housing on or near a campus than there would be little controversy in the arrangement. Many frats and sororities offer their own privately run housing as does the Newman Student Housing group in many places.

In this case, Troy University is actually running the dorm and this is causing groups like the FFRF to predictively oppose the arrangement. The university however is not officially pushing a particular religion but only providing an environment that reflects Christian values.  

I am sure that many parents would be far happier if they were sending their sons or daughters to a dorm with this kind of environment rather than the mixed dorm rooms, bathrooms and showers that have increasingly become the norm at many public institutions of ‘higher’ learning.              *Top

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