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K-State Today

January 24, 2019

Striving for religious, spiritual and nonreligious inclusiveness

Submitted by Christy Craft

The President's Committee on Religion is now the President's Committee on Religious, Spiritual and Nonreligious Diversity and reports to Bryan Samuel, chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The name change was initiated by the committee to reflect the diverse world views represented by students, faculty and staff on campus. The committee has had representation by spiritual and nonreligious individuals, in addition to those who identify as religious, for some time, and we celebrate this name change as being more inclusive.

While many are familiar with the idea of being either religious or spiritual, fewer tend to think about the nonreligious category. What do we mean by nonreligious? Combining "religious" and "nonreligious" diversity could encompass all diversity. "But that is not exactly our point," according to one committee member who identifies as atheist. "Our committee wants to ensure that all beliefs are respected and that representatives of those beliefs have a place at our table. We want to ensure that, at K-State, such a welcome is extended to those without particular religious or spiritual beliefs (e.g., atheists, agnostics, and any other persons who might otherwise check the survey box 'no religious affiliation'). The term 'nonreligious' is inclusive of all the many varied shades of those world views that aren't a part of organized religious traditions without listing them in an exhaustive way (atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, etc.)."

Religious, spiritual and nonreligious world views are all threads in the tapestry of diversity at K-State. And, the President's Committee on Religious, Spiritual and Nonreligious Diversity exists to support this aspect of diversity on our campus.

Prayer and/or meditation space is currently available on campus. Room 5 of Holtz Hall is open for that purpose from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, and from 5-9:30 p.m. on Sundays. Moreover, Room 303 in the K-State Student Union is open for prayer and/or meditation from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.

As we start this new calendar year, please be mindful of the various religious holidays that might be celebrated by campus community members and consider appropriate accommodations for those involved in such religious observances.

All students, faculty and staff who are interested in providing feedback to and/or being involved on this committee are welcome to contact Christy Craft, ccraft@k-state.edu, who serves as chair of the committee and associate professor in the College of Education.