The Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service exists to serve, support, and nurture the religious and spiritual well-being of all within the university community. Toward this end, the following guidelines have been established to ensure a healthy environment where each person’s faith can be practiced and expressed freely and with integrity.
Support of Religious Groups, Programs, and Leaders
Student religious groups are invited and encouraged to work with the CSDS, which centralizes information on each group for distribution to new students. Groups are encouraged to keep the CSDS updated for inclusion in such publicity. They are also encouraged to seek university recognition from the Center for Student Involvement in order to enjoy the use of many additional Northeastern facilities, funds, and resources.
Each religious group is required to send two representatives (one if average group attendance is under 10) to the Northeastern University Interfaith Council, which coordinates interfaith dialogue, volunteer action, and cooperative programs among the various religious groups on campus. The two leaders should reflect a balance of genders and ages.
Authorization of Religious Groups, Programs, and Leaders
All student groups engaged in religious- or spiritually-based activities on campus must be endorsed by CSDS, and are thereby accountable to Northeastern.To be endorsed, a student leader must meet with the executive director of CSDS and, if endorsed, renew their endorsement each September by visiting the executive director. Once recognized, groups can apply for university recognition through the Center for Student Involvement.
Spiritual Advisors and non-student leaders of student religious groups must be endorsed by the CSDS in order to work on campus. Such leaders are to meet with the executive director of CSDS upon appointment, periodically thereafter, and in Spiritual Advisors’ team meetings.
Non-student groups and individuals who are engaged in religious outreach to students on campus must be endorsed by the CSDS, and are thereby accountable to Northeastern.
Purpose of Campus Religious Activity
Religious activity at Northeastern should meet the needs and benefit the spiritual lives of the community. Religious groups and ministries whose purpose is primarily to draw members into non-Northeastern-based groups and local churches are not to conduct ministry work on campus. Likewise, groups and ministries that do not involve significant initiative and leadership from within the Northeastern community are not to conduct ministry work on campus.
Behavior of Religious Groups
Proselytizing, witness, or ministry that negatively impacts students or other members of the Northeastern community will not be tolerated. Such behavior may include, but is not limited to:
Harassment or coercion of any type
Pressure that takes advantage of unequal power dynamics (in age, language, etc.)
Entering residences uninvited by the person to whom one is speaking
Frequent or after-hours phone calls, emails, text messages, or instant messages that are unsolicited
Approaching individuals who have not themselves initiated contact
Continuing contact after an individual has said “no”
Collecting money, except when authorized by CSDS or SAO for an approved activity
Physical, mental or, emotional abuse
Unduly excluding or isolating of the group, or certain members of the group
Clusters of behaviors commonly held to be indicative of cults or destructive religions
Targeting people of another faith to convince them to leave that faith
Manipulation, deceit, or untruthfulness
Religious groups must practice truth in advertising. All literature, spoken communications, and events must clearly and accurately identify the religious nature of the event, all sponsoring groups, and the intent of the event. It is important students doing outreach identify themselves as members of a Northeastern-endorsed organization, to avoid confusion with outside groups who attempt to use the campus. Additionally, events may not function under a “bait-and-switch” approach—promising one type of event or sponsor and actually offering another.
No group may purposely misrepresent or denigrate another faith by verbal statements, or by distributing denigrating literature. Hate language is likewise unacceptable. Although disagreement among faiths is to be expected, such disagreement is to be communicated in an accurate, constructive, and respectful fashion.
Sanctions for Violations
Religious groups acting in violation of any of the guidelines will be subject to possible group probationary status or withdrawal of CSDS endorsement and university recognition.
Religious groups acting in violation of any standing Northeastern policies and regulations, or in violation of any laws, will be liable for possible judicial or legal action, as well as subject to group probationary status or withdrawal of CSDS endorsement and Northeastern recognition.
University Policies on Accommodations for Religious Observance
Northeastern respects the religious beliefs of faculty and staff and their desire to observe their accepted religious customs and holy days. The University allows reasonable time off without adjustment to pay to attend religious observances on generally recognized holy days, provided this does not disrupt academic schedules or administrative responsibilities.
Northeastern is committed to honoring the religious commitments of all members of our community. Both university policy and Massachusetts law provide that students unable to attend classes, participate in required course activities, or take a scheduled examination because of religious observance will be provided with reasonable opportunity to make up the course work without adverse effects. The university also respects the religious observance of faculty members. For students, find the appropriate policies below or here. For faculty and staff, find the policies below or here.
Policy On Instructional Accommodations For Student Religious Observance
I. Purpose and Scope
This policy sets forth the protocol required of instructors at the university when requests are made by students to accommodate their religious practice. The policy applies to all students at the university and to all persons employed in an instructional capacity by the university.
For purposes of this Policy,
Student means any person enrolled in any course offered by Northeastern.
Instructor refers to any person acting as an instructor in a course offered by the university, whether as the instructor of record or in an assisting role.
When any student is unable, because of religious practice, to attend class or participate in an examination or any other required assignment or activity in any course in which she or he is enrolled, the course instructor shall provide reasonable opportunity to make up the examination, assignment or activity.
IV. Additional Information N/A
V. Contact Information Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost (617-373-2170).
ACADEMIC AND FACULTY AFFAIRS; Effective Date: 1985; Date Revised: December 10, 2015; Supersedes: N/A; Related Policies: Student Bill of Academic Rights and Responsibilities (in Student Handbook); Responsible Office/Department: Office of the Provost
For Faculty and Staff
Northeastern respects the religious beliefs of faculty and staff and their desire to take time off for religious observances. Employees may use personal time for religious observances.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Debra L. Franko, PhD, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at (617.373.5454), or Alexander Levering Kern Executive Director of CSDS at firstname.lastname@example.org (617.373.4931).