Atheist Book Club of Toledo Message Board › Secular Student Alliance

Secular Student Alliance

Rob E.
user 17669991
Maumee, OH
Post #: 4
So, I attend a semi-local college and after the conversation I overheard between a member of faculty and a student, I am contemplating on trying to start a branch of Secular Student Alliance, or something to give students an 'out'. The area I am in is very, very, very religiously oppressive. Some of the things I see and hear around campus, leads me to believe that it may go over smooth, however, most of the full time faculty are devout and give little room to be reasoned with. My issue is this: if I try and start a group and it doesnt go over well, what resources do I have against retribution against being shut out? Furthermore, by doing so, am I backing myself in a corner to styme myself in academic solitude? And just to be clear, the conversation that I overheard, was a professor teling her student that his, "hair was too loud(mohawk) and God and her would deduct from his grades untill he cut his hair." Since then, the student has filed a grievence, but that shouldnt have even been an issue. Any advice would help. Thanks.
Suzie Y.
syeager
Perrysburg, OH
Post #: 114
Yea, that is a tough situation. And the professor that is basing students' grades on hairstyle shouldn't be teaching anyone, anything - nor does God have anything to do with it - believer or non-believer. That statement is just plain stupid. College is often thought of as this open forum for education, when in my experience and in so many others - it is just the opposite. No free thinking allowed - get back in line and absorb the redundant one-way thinking like the rest of the good little sheep. But there are a few shepherds that let their flocks roam free - I would start by testing the waters with a professor from the Math or Science departments - usually the best place to find logic. I volunteer for a third party political organization and we have run into this issue as well trying to set up campus groups - open minds are hard to find. But with any luck, if you can get just one faculty member to sponsor, most organizations will get approved by the school with just a dozen or so student signatures, but it can vary depending on the school of course.

As far as retribution or backlash, prepare yourself, there may be some. But I think a lot of that depends on your own personal mind set. If you seem afraid to express your viewpoint, people will be afraid to hear it. If you are open, confident, and "professional" in the way you present your beliefs and the group - and are as respectful of others views as you want them to be of yours - most will be tolerant. But there are always the ignorant few. I don't think academic solitude will be the result, more than likely someone will try to save your soul instead :) I hope you find some support for starting the group up and let us know how it goes!

Peggy C.
GOABisground
Group Organizer
Toledo, OH
Post #: 66
Hi, Rob!

Have you contacted anyone at the Secular Student Alliance yet? I think that either JT Eberhardt or Ashley Paramore (or anyone on staff) would be very happy to talk to you. http://www.secularstudents.org­

They are local to Ohio--the national office is in Columbus, Ohio. I know JT has been very successful with assisting high school students since he came on board as SSA staff person. They're very active on college campuses, too.

Let us know how it goes!

Peg
Rob E.
user 17669991
Maumee, OH
Post #: 5
Thanks for the feedback. After allowing the issue to settle for a bit I have decided to make contatct and proceed with getting information to go ahead with getting a group together. My decision was further motivated after attending a dinner with our local Senator, local mayor and the college president in which the event was more like a mini Tea-party pep rally, rather than a student body sponsered event, such as how it was advertised. It was complete with two sermons by a local pastor and followed up by benediction. I was not a happy camper. And also learning the fact that graduation will include a bendediction as well. I have also made contact with a few professors and students that share the same views, so I think we will have enough support. I will keep you all posted.
Peggy C.
GOABisground
Group Organizer
Toledo, OH
Post #: 67
Thanks for the feedback. After allowing the issue to settle for a bit I have decided to make contatct and proceed with getting information to go ahead with getting a group together. My decision was further motivated after attending a dinner with our local Senator, local mayor and the college president in which the event was more like a mini Tea-party pep rally, rather than a student body sponsered event, such as how it was advertised. It was complete with two sermons by a local pastor and followed up by benediction. I was not a happy camper. And also learning the fact that graduation will include a bendediction as well. I have also made contact with a few professors and students that share the same views, so I think we will have enough support. I will keep you all posted.

Let us know how it works out! This is exciting stuff! (There are times in life when you can know that you are playing your part in history. This is one of those occasions.)
Rob E.
user 17669991
Maumee, OH
Post #: 6
Well, apparently one of the other students went barking straight to the top of the toteum pole, because I was informed I have a meeting to attend in the morning with the president, vice president, the head of p.r. and I have no clue who else in administration. Not sure whats instore for that meeting. But good news is, that almost the entire arts and science dept facaulty is behind the creation of a branch of SSA. With the eception of two biology profs, that just happen to teach creationism and intelligent design... no suprise there. I was also informed by one of the more out spoken profs that support me, "to be ready to be one of the most hated individuals on campus." Not sure how I feel about that but, hey I only live once right? lol! I must say, this is getting the better of my nerves though. Maybe I should have looked into some meditation techniques before all this...Lol! Thanks for the support and will post more later!
Barbara
user 12374082
Derby, GB
Post #: 1
Don't sweat it! They'll probably try to brow beat you with all the big wigs there but it's cool that YOU got their attention. They are responding to YOU. Don't get upset. Enjoy it. Listen to what they say and go back home and jot down everything you can remember. You can analyze it and learn from it. It's a golden opportunity to deal face to face with the "opposition". Besides, you will have a GREAT story to share with all of us. You will have bragging rights.
Having said that, I would enroll at another institution. The burden of being secular in a place like that might be a detriment to your education. Who wants to be around narrow-minded people or people who do not speak up for themselves when you can make the choice to go somewhere else?
Peggy C.
GOABisground
Group Organizer
Toledo, OH
Post #: 68
To what Barbara said, I'd add that it would be helpful for you to take a witness of your choosing to this meeting with the college president and other big wigs. Your witness's job is to just help you remember everything that happens. (Also, it can help keep the other participants honest if they know that the meeting is witnessed.) Good luck with your meeting this morning! Have you contacted anyone from the Secular Student Alliance yet? Anyone else keeping an eye on the situation with you?
Suzie Y.
syeager
Perrysburg, OH
Post #: 115
Thanks for the feedback. After allowing the issue to settle for a bit I have decided to make contatct and proceed with getting information to go ahead with getting a group together. My decision was further motivated after attending a dinner with our local Senator, local mayor and the college president in which the event was more like a mini Tea-party pep rally, rather than a student body sponsered event, such as how it was advertised. It was complete with two sermons by a local pastor and followed up by benediction. I was not a happy camper. And also learning the fact that graduation will include a bendediction as well. I have also made contact with a few professors and students that share the same views, so I think we will have enough support. I will keep you all posted.

I'm curious Rob - was the event you attended regarding the Constitution? - I ask only because I volunteer for some of the groups that organized that event. And as many times as I have had the discussion with leaders of those groups regarding the combination of education and religious aspects of history...its hard for some to comprehend people having solid morals and values without religion or God playing a part.
Rob E.
user 17669991
Maumee, OH
Post #: 7
Yes Suzie it was that event. Personally, I can understand the issue of morality and the disolving of religious beliefs or likewise a universal commonality without religious beliefs. That is a tough call. But to subject students to the rhetoric they were spouting that day waas a bit much for anyone and I am a fiarly tolerant person. The bottom line for me was when one of the presidents of one of the groups stood up on the stange and said in from of elected government officials, that the Constitution was not a living document and it was never intended to be changed. That for me was the deciding factor that these people have no forethought as to what they are subjecting their viewers to, and something has to be done about it. That and coupled with the fact that the administration of my school is predominantly Mennonite, lol. At any rate, the meeting was called off last week because the other students did not show up and going into a meeting alone was not going to happen on my part. I have been having dialogue with Andy Cheadle from the SSA and am in the process of firing up a web forum of some kind, most likely on Facebook or Twitter. I will keep the progress posting as regular as can be. Thanks again!
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