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.