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Becoming a member
Requirements for membership in
Religious & Spiritual Life (RSL)
RSL recognizes that any religious group has the right to apply to the university for recognition as a student group. However, to belong to the RSL, the recognized ministerial association on campus, a group must meet the following requirements:
1. The RSL Representative from each organization must sign this agreement (Guidelines and Code of Ethics) once a year. New organizations must sign in order to gain status with the RSL (Full, Associate, or Probationary). When a new RSL Representative is hired/placed, he/she must sign the agreement in order for the campus ministry to maintain their status.
2. All new campus ministries that qualify for Full or Associate membership must fulfill a one year probationary period. During the probationary period, they may send representatives to meetings. They may participate in discussions, but may not vote. They may participate in RSL sponsored events on a case-by-case basis, to be voted on at a meeting prior to the event.
3. To become a Full Member, an organization must be led by a chaplain or director who meets the following stipulations:
a. Be appointed to fulfill the duties of chaplain, director, or campus minister as his/her preeminent commitment to the ministry at USF. This needs to be documented by the sending body.
b. Have an academic preparation which includes a baccalaureate degree and a recognized theological degree or its equivalent in ministerial training.
c. Each religious body shall be entitled to nominate one (1) individual as its campus worker.
d. Organizations that meet the above requirements with the exception of time committed to the university and academic preparation may apply for Associate Membership.
e. New membership is contingent upon a two-thirds (66%) vote of full members present at the meeting.
4. Associate Members enjoy full participation in RSL activities and privileges, but do not have voting rights.
5. The organization must be sponsored by a nationally recognized religious body as its official ministry on campus. A process of accountability must be evidenced in the structure of the religious body to insure the accountability of its representative.
6. Organizations that do not have a national sending body can apply for Probationary Status. The probationary period will last for two years. During the first year, a Probationary Organization may send representatives to meetings. They may participate in the discussion but may not vote. During the second year, a Probationary Organization can participate in RSL sponsored events on a case-by-case basis (to be voted on at a RSL meeting prior to the sponsored event). At the end of two years, they can apply for either Associate or Full Membership.
7. The organization must provide written evidence of sponsorship by a nationally recognized religious body with at least a three-year commitment. Additional sponsorship may be required of a local group to assure accountability.
8. The organization must provide a representative who will attend the monthly meetings of the RSL. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings without contacting the President of the RSL will result in removal of membership in the RSL. An organization may reapply after one semester.
9. The organization must provide financial support to print the RSL brochure that is included in orientation materials distributed by the university.
10. The organization must agree to the Code of Ethics of the RSL:
a. In order to foster an atmosphere of religious tolerance and pluralism within the university community, we disavow any behavior that seeks to promote one religion while denigrating another. We commit ourselves to eliminating all religious intolerance within and among our groups and communities, while maintaining our right to express exclusive truth claims within our belief systems.
b. In order to respect the values of all people regardless of religious backgrounds, we affirm the right of every person to retain his/her own belief system, to explore other beliefs, and to make their own decisions without harassment.
c. In order to defend the human dignity and freedom of all people we refuse to use coercive techniques or manipulative appeals intended to bypass one’s critical thinking faculties, play on one’s psychological weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and/or undermine one’s relationship with family or religious institutions. We affirm the right of religious groups to speak freely about their beliefs and faith in a manner consistent with the solicitation policies of the
d. In order to promote openness and honesty among religious groups we commit ourselves to state clearly on all printed material and advertisements the names of all sponsoring groups of any religious activity we organize within and for the university community.
e. In order to express both unity and diversity among our religious communities we commit ourselves to work, whenever possible, with other religious groups within the university community to serve the needs of all students, faculty, administrators, and staff.
f. In order to affirm the importance of religious belief and practice in the educational formation of students, we commit ourselves to working within the administration, faculty, and staff to fulfill the educational goals of the university.
11. The organization must agree to be accountable to the other RSL groups and acknowledge the right of the RSL to remove the group by a majority vote of the RSL members for failure to comply with the Code of Ethics.
12. The organization must be a recognized student organization by the
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