Editorials Endorse Repeal of ‘Bible Study Ban’
March 9, 2006
For some time now, UW schools have been free to ban RAs from leading certain activities, such as bible studies, within their dorm rooms. On Wednesday, UW System President Kevin Reilly acted on the counsel of a group of residence-life professionals, student affairs officers and students, recommending a laudable proposal to the Board of Regents to guarantee resident assistants certain rights bestowed upon other residents of university housing. If adopted, this plan would allow RAs all of the freedoms presently enjoyed by John Q. Resident. In a world-class university, we should accept nothing less.
The proposed policy essentially allows resident assistants to hold such meetings in their rooms, the same as other students are allowed to do, as long as no one is required or pressured to attend.
That makes good sense. Because resident assistants are paid to work as leaders in their dormitories, no other student should have to feel pressured or ostracized because he or she is of the wrong religion or political organization.
But resident assistants should not have to give up their First Amendment rights in the process. This proposal seems to respect everybody’s rights.
University of Wisconsin President Kevin Reilly has proposed a reasonable policy on holding Bible study classes in the rooms of dormitory resident assistants. UW Regents should approve the proposal at this week’s meeting.
The new policy strikes a better balance. It would permit the assistants to host political or religious events provided they don't pressure the students in their charge to attend.…This proposal deserves the regents’ support.