Students’ council passes policy on campus prayer space

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The most recent student council meeting saw the approval of Policy 37, regarding multi-faith prayer space on campus. The policy, which tasks Feds with advocating to the university administration on the subject of prayer space, was met with some resistance over the language.


Feds science councillor Carly McCready said using the word “prayer” excludes non-religious students and that any space Feds advocates for should be usable by all students, regardless of faith.


“I do understand this point of view that it may not necessarily be the most inclusive word,” said Feds’ Vice-President Internal Maaz Yasin who drafted the policy. Yasin said he considered the exclusive connotation of the word “prayer” before putting the motion forward at the Sept. 21 council meeting. He said his justification is that “multi-faith prayer space” is a “very universal term” used in airports and other public spaces.


“I felt that even though it says ‘prayer’ it would still be obviously open to people who don’t want to pray [but rather] just reflect,” Yasin said.


A lengthy discussion took place while the motion was on the table to find a replacement phrase to use in the policy. Several options were suggested, such as “multi-faith quiet space” and “multi-faith prayer and meditation space,” but neither was accepted by the majority. McCready said the word “prayer” was too exclusive and should be left out of the motion.


A general consensus was reached that not all prayers are quiet and therefore the word be left out of the policy.


Yasin, who included advocating for prayer space in his election campaign back in February, said he consulted religious groups of the Islamic, Christian, Sikh, Hindu, and Jewish faith. There is an atheist club on campus that Yasin did not consult with on the policy, however he said he spoke with students who identify as atheist.


Some councillors expressed concern over vagueness of the title if “prayer” was left out. McCready, however, said, “I think no matter what we say, the space is going to be used for its intended use.”


An amendment was eventually passed unanimously to change the title of the policy to “multi-faith space for spiritual study and practise.”


There are currently two prayer rooms located in the SLC on the first and third floors. Yasin said the point of the policy is for space to be designated in other parts of campus so it is accessible to students who may not frequent the SLC, specifically for those of cultures that pray multiple times per day


 


<em>This story previously did not list &quot;Christian&quot; as a religious student group that was consulted but has been updated to reflect the correct information.&nbsp;</em>
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