An investigation of state university provisions for liaison with student religious groups
The study was designed to describe policies, programs and staff assignments in higher education institutions related to student religious groups and campus ministers. The study replicated research done by George Jones in 1968.The population of the study consisted of 509 four-year tax-assisted state colleges and universities in the United States but was later adjusted to 467 institutions. A questionnaire was sent to the administrative heads of the student affairs office or student personnel office. The number of usable questionnaires returned was 288, which constituted a 62 percent return.The following hypotheses were generated for statistical treatment:Hypothesis I.--There is no significant difference between the percentage of means of recognizing ministers assigned to serve public four-year colleges and universities in the Jones study and the current study.Hypothesis II.--There is no significant difference between the percentage of duties of advisors to religious councils recognized by public four-year colleges and universities in the Jones study and the current study.Hypothesis III.--There is no significant difference between the percentage o` university staff serving as liaison with campus ministers in the Jones study and the current study.Significant regional differences were found for Hypotheses I and II but no significant regional differences were found for Hypothesis III.The findings in the following summary are based upon the data of the study.Policies that allow recognition of student religious groups on campus were reported by administrators to exist at 43 percent of the institutions of higher education. For student religious organizations to be recognized or accredited the university administration consistently required the groups to file an application, secure approval for the constitution and to arrange for a faculty advisor or sponsor.The religious council was used by 20 percent of the administrators as a means of relating to the student religious groups and religious workers. A council of campus ministers that served as liaison with the religious workers was reported by 37 percent of the administrators.On 53 percent of the campuses, a university staff person was designated as liaison with the campus ministers. The director of student affairs was identified as the person most often responsible for religious coordination.The respondents reported that 43 percent of the religious group growth on campus was with the evangelical Christian groups. The administrators reported that 40 percent of the change in the campus ministry was with the loss of the radical and militant image of the student religious groups.Only 6 percent of the respondents reported threatened lawsuits because of religious coordination policies of the public colleges and universities in the United States.