We do more than respond to campus issues, but these statements by our Campus Issues group make for easy posts...
United Campus Ministers on Islamic Awareness
We, United Campus Ministers at Dartmouth, representing the spectrum of spiritual traditions on this campus, honor the recent efforts of the al Nur Muslim Student Association in bringing Islamic Awareness Week to Dartmouth. We welcome the balancing perspective of Muslims in our community to the fear generated by persistent reports of war and violence in the name of Islam. We thank al Nur for their efforts in promoting understanding and learning for the entire Dartmouth Community.
Those who participated in the events of the past week found honest student panels, conversations of collective responsibility, open prayer services and recitations of the Quran, and a keynote address by leading American Islamic Scholar, Imam Zaid Shakir. We recognize that one week of presentations is not enough. Many on campus could not attend.
But we are grieved and angered that some have mocked Al Nur and its leaders anonymously with online postings - in jest or boredom perhaps. But let us be clear. When we elevate ourselves and demonize others, we are the ones who foster conflict. When we do not stand behind our words and own our own prejudice, we are the ones who foster fear and misunderstanding. Such incidents underscore the need for the very dialog that Al Nur has initiated and which we must continue.
Dartmouth - like the world - is diverse, not only in terms of race and gender but in belief and background. So are the campus ministers, standing in today for the role played long ago by a single protestant preacher. We do not strive for uniformity, but rather a collective engagement that enhances the learning of us all. Each of us arrives with the prejudice of our heritage. But by honoring our differences we become something greater than ourselves and Dartmouth becomes a community.
Response to Staff
As United Campus Ministers we want to express our deepest sympathy to those who have lost jobs in recent days. We understand that it is a tremendously difficult time. We also understand that it remains a difficult time for those who will remain uncertain about their own job security pending future announcements by the administration. Dartmouth is not alone in having to take steps to deal with the effects of the economic climate and we hold all those affected by the layoffs in our prayers.
Our religious faith teaches us that work is an important part of our individual identity. We need work, and all the recognition that comes with it. Equally, faith also teaches us that when one of us hurts we all hurt. Many of us have worked with and been supported by those who have lost their jobs. We will miss them and all that they have contributed to our common life. We also extend our compassionate understanding to those who have had to make difficult decisions that affect the livelihood of others. While no one has sought the current situation, the losses affect each of us in the Dartmouth community and in the broader local community.
As the United Campus Ministers we want to take this opportunity to remind all employees, staff and faculty of the college that we stand ready to provide pastoral and spiritual support to those who are affected by the layoffs. Most of our ministry is directed to students, but without the staff and faculty of Dartmouth those students would not have the tremendous opportunities for which Dartmouth is rightly famous. If you need pastoral or spiritual support please visit the Tucker Foundation website to identify a campus minister within your tradition whom you would feel comfortable speaking to.
We are a diverse group and we represent many different perspectives on faith and many different perspectives on life at Dartmouth. On one thing we are agreed, our traditions all speak of hope arising out of the most difficult of times. We hope that those of you who find solace and inspiration in religious faith will join us in continuing to pray for all those, locally and globally, who are adversely affected by these difficult economic times.