You get accepted to Baylor.
You move in during Welcome Week.
You’re away from home for the first time, alone in a new environment without your parents and no idea what do to about your laundry. Who do you call?
Your Community Leader, (CL) is there to welcome you and provide guidance.
During this rough transition from home life to college life, it is essential to have someone with experience to whom you can put questions. A CL serves as a year-round mentor, rule enforcer and friend to the students who live in Baylor housing and are under his or her care.
CLs are crucial and necessary jobs which, due to the responsibility involved, require excellent candidates who will be supportive and caring toward students while still enforcing university policy.
Strict criteria, of course, are used to determine an applicant’s credibility. Listed in the basic requirements is “demonstrated Christian faith.”
While we applaud Baylor’s effort to provide Christian leadership to its students in keeping with its mission, having exclusively Christian CLs is both unnecessary and unfairly excludes students of other faiths who may need the economic benefits of Community Leadership.
In the first place, although Baylor is a Christian school, it is not limited to Christians – students of other faiths can and do attend Baylor. Some of them even hold jobs on campus.
Since non-Christians are invited to attend and can even hold other on-campus jobs, it seems unnecessary to bar them from this one.
Also, having exclusively Christian CLs is a redundancy, as the spiritual needs of the students who live in the residence halls are attended to by resident chaplains who live in there in the halls with them.
If non-Christian CLs were to be hired, they could simply direct students in need of Christian guidance to the resident chaplains who live in the halls for that purpose. Having a non-Christian CL would not impede Christian students who need religious guidance because of the resident chaplains, who are surely only too happy to offer Christian counsel.
Once that obstacle is cleared, it seems obvious that in every other function, a non-Christian could perform just as well as a Christian. Regardless of religion, students who choose to come to Baylor are subject to its moral codes and behavioral requirements, meaning that they, too, must accept university values. And religion is not a factor that affects any other aspect of the job: non-Christians are able to be on-call and perform administrative functions just as well as Christians.
Furthermore, excluding non-Christian students from being hired as CLs deprives them of an important economic benefit.
CLs receive a scholarship for the cost of housing and an 11-meal-per-week plan, in addition to a stipend (anywhere from $400 for a first-time CL to $1200 for a CL mentor, an experienced CL who counsels other CLs).
Let’s add it up, using the cheapest options available:
A double-occupancy room that shares a community bathroom in a traditional residence hal costs $5312 per person per year. The Classic, a meal plan option offering 11 meals per week plus an additional $300 in Dining Dollars per year, costs $3844.10. CLs are offered 11 meals per week, so by subtracting the $300 for Dining Dollars, we have a rough estimate of $3544.10 We’ll add to that a $400 stipend.
The total economic benefit is $9256.1 using the cheapest options. Students who are excluded from becoming CLs on the basis of their religion are missing out on nearly $10,000 that could help them to afford their education, or potentially more, depending on several factors including housing placement and if the student in question has served as a CL before.
When all of these factors are considered, excluding non-Christians from the post seems both unnecessary and unfair, and the university should consider re-evaluating this requirement.