Cornell United Religious Work and its affiliates have promised support and assistance for students across campus.

Linbo Fan / Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell United Religious Work and its affiliates have promised support and assistance for students across campus.

February 23, 2017

Religious Groups on Campus Provide Support to Marginalized Students

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Following the contentious political discourse during the presidential election, religious groups on campus have been actively providing support to marginalized students of various faiths, according to Rev. Dr. Kenneth Clarke, director of Cornell United Religious Work.

“A rancid political and cultural climate has … created anxiety within our Muslim, Jewish, international, immigrant and student communities of color on campus and beyond,” Clarke said.

According to Cornell’s Bias Assessment and Review Team, there have been 12 reported instances of bias based on religion and 41 based on ethnicity since July.

Within this climate, CURW — an umbrella organization for 28 religious groups on campus — has been approached by “three to four students who have felt their religious beliefs impugned by professors during class,” according to Rev. Daniel McMullin, associated director of CURW.

Cornell Hillel has also been providing a support network “to empower Jewish students to grow as humans and as Jews,” especially if the student has encountered anti-Semitism, according to Rabbi Ari Weiss, executive director of Cornell Hillel.

Weiss added that Hillel has also been focusing on “stand[ing] in solidarity if other groups are being targeted.”

Cru at Cornell has also been actively supporting other religious groups on campus, according to Samuel Cantillo ’19.

“As a ministry, we’re trying to continue to have conversations with people who have different beliefs than us,” Cantillo said.

In particular, Cru members have been holding open discussions with the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, according to JW Betts, CCM staff member.

Betts added that CCM is “stay[ing] nimble” by being attentive and looking for opportunities to actively engage with current issues through a religious perspective.
“I love it to be us thinking about every political philosophy, and how the reality of Jesus affects that conversation,” Betts said.

  • idk

    Students had, “their religious beliefs impugned by professors during class.” Great! Hopefully these indoctrinated students will be able to clear their minds of religious nonsense and think more rationally 🙂

  • grow up

    I’d like to see the details of how exactly these students had their religious beliefs insulted by professors. It definitely sounds like there’s two sides to this story. Are we talking about a creationist throwing a fit about their biology professor talking about evolution and showing creationism to be the nonsense that it is? Are we talking about religious zealots demanding that their history professor provide an “alternative” account of a series of events that paint their religion and its followers in an excessively favorable light? Are we talking about a philosophy professor utterly demolishing the metaphysical and epistemological underpinnings of religious belief and the students want an apologist pandering to them instead? I suspect the professors would be doing the students a disservice if they weren’t receiving these complaints given what campus culture has evolved into.

    • Ben

      Why do I get the distinct feeling that you would rush to the defense of Muslims (whose adherents are the most extreme in their religious views) and ridicule and mock Christians for their humanitarian beliefs.

      • grow up

        I actually think Islam does far more harm to its adherents and the world at large than Christianity does. How progressives can relentlessly attack Christianity but defend Islam instigating far worse is hopelessly illogical to me.

  • Ben

    What is the difference between telling a transgender that he/she is suffering from a mental disorder and telling a religious person the same thing?

    • grow up

      I’ve always wondered why people seem so eager to encourage trans-sexuality instead of maybe first seeing if correcting a hormone imbalance could resolve the issue before jumping to radical surgery and forcing hormonal imbalances known to negatively impact their health and longevity. If that fails then fine, but it seems like the most prudent first step.

      Blanketing religious thought as a mental disorder seems over the top to me. There is a wide spectrum of why people are religious, what exactly their beliefs entail, and what it motivates them to do. Some of these people could rightly be described as having a mental disorder in my opinion, but certainly not all. Most people never even give this stuff serious thought. Of those that do, is being exceptionally illogical necessarily grounds for a mental disorder when humans are notoriously illogical in everything they haven’t made a serious effort to be rational about?

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