Policies for Activities and Behaviors of Religious Groups and Professionals

Bates College, from its first charter in 1855, has stood for freedom of inquiry and belief. We have a long and proud tradition of religious tolerance and a commitment to the development of genuine religious pluralism. Nothing in this policy should be construed to mean that anyone has the right to amend, control 7 or coerce the religious beliefs of any member of the College community.

If religious groups engage in practices or behaviors that are detrimental or injurious to students and others in the College or are clearly and demonstrably contrary to the essential purposes for which the College exists, the College has the right and duty to intervene to stop such activity. When a person’s or group’s actions adversely affect public welfare, health or safety on the campus, such actions or behavior must not be allowed to continue. The following list is intended to supply guidelines for practices and behavior related to religious organizations and their representatives and members on the Bates College campus.

Prohibited activities and behaviors include any action or behavior that is harmful to the health, safety or welfare of members of the Bates College community, including but not limited to:

  • Actions that adversely affect the academic or vocational pursuits of students or the professional functioning of employees.
  • Engaging in false or deceptive promotions and advertising concerning a group and/or its activities. (Posters and other methods of publicity are subject to the guidelines promulgated by Student Affairs, which include indicating the name of the sponsoring group.)
  • Failure to honor the freedom of students, staff and faculty to investigate various belief systems and to make their own decisions about those beliefs as well as their freedom to decline invitations to such investigation.
  • Intruding, through unwanted visits, phone calls or mailings, into residence halls, where students should properly expect privacy, or into work areas, where employees should properly expect freedom to perform their duties without undue interference.
  • Sending to campus mailboxes or email accounts mailings that the recipient has clearly indicated that s/he does not wish to receive; persisting in personal invitations of any kind to a group’s meetings or activities or to private meetings with members of a group after the invitee has clearly expressed a desire not to participate in that group’s life or activities.
  • Soliciting membership for a religious organization by seeking to force or coerce any person, either physically or psychologically, into affiliation with a religious organization or community.
  • Failure to identify the group’s and/or its representatives’ religious affiliation and purposes to College officials and to group members and potential members.
  • Actions that by force or coercion (physical or psychological) cause students or employees to be absent from campus.
  • Engaging in behaviors that meet the definitions of sexual harassment and assault, as defined by the College’s policies and all applicable state and federal laws; failure to abide by the College’s regulations and policies as published in official College documents.