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Thread: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

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    Default Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones
    Volunteer would not lead religious activities at ISU's mandatory team functions.

    By TOM WITOSKY
    REGISTER STAFF WRITER


    June 26, 2007
    2 Comments



    Ames, Ia. - Iowa State's football program should be allowed to have a volunteer religious adviser on its staff so long as that individual does not lead religious activities at mandatory team functions, an Iowa State faculty athletic panel recommended Monday.

    Members of the Iowa State Athletic Council voted 7-1 to recommend that Iowa State football coach Gene Chizik be permitted to establish a position that will provide assistance to football team members who seek religious guidance or other types of personal counseling.

    "We have taken serious the faith needs of Iowa State student-athletes, but also have worked hard to protect the interests of student-athletes of different faiths and those with no faith," said Tim Day, chairman of the athletic council and professor of biomedical sciences.

    Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said the position would be voluntary and the individual - while having access to players at practices, games and in the locker room - will be prohibited from pressuring or coercing team members into participating in religious activities.

    Pollard also said the person filling the position, likely to be called a "life skills assistant," would be required to provide resources and contacts for athletes on-campus and off-campus when they are requested.

    "We have student-athletes who have a lot to deal with and often need someone to turn to," Pollard said. "I believe we need to provide that kind of assistance."

    Pollard also said similar positions exist on other football programs and that Iowa State football players have had access to religious advisers through the program in the past.

    The athletic council recommendation is to be forwarded to Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy for his consideration and approval.

    Geoffroy asked athletic council members to review the issue after more than 100 faculty members signed a petition stating that having a chaplain for the football team would violate the separation of church and state. Chizik had asked for appointment of a team chaplain.

    One of the leaders of the petition drive said he doesn't believe the athletic council recommendation will satisfy the 133 faculty members who signed the petition.

    "I don't think that the faculty members who signed the petition are going to be fooled by a semantic distinction about what the position is called," Bill David, a professor of music, said after the vote. "I am also a little troubled by the argument that this is going on everywhere else and so it should be allowed here."

    In its recommendation, the council said any individual placed into this counseling position will not be paid with any state, university, athletic or ISU Foundation funds. In addition, the adviser will be prohibited from holding any kind of religious activity or service at any mandatory team function.

    "This is where we need to draw the line in the sand," said Paula Morrow, ISU faculty athletic representative. "I have no objection to someone having voluntary Bible study with players on the night before a game. I do have problems with someone leading a team prayer before a game because that could be considered coercive."

    As a result, the council recommended that the adviser be permitted to engage "in religious activities with student-athletes seeking such engagement outside of football team functions."

    Day agreed, adding that any kind of prayers led during mandatory team functions will have to be initiated and led by team members.

    "We are acknowledging that sometimes student-athletes have unique needs along these lines, whether it is a matter of time constraints or a need for confidentiality," Day said.

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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and prays like a duck . . .
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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    . . . or in other words, they can call it a life skills assistant, a defensive thinking coach, or whatever the heck they want. It's still a team chaplain (just like intelligent design is still divine creation).
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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    "This is where we need to draw the line in the sand," said Paula Morrow, ISU faculty athletic representative. "I have no objection to someone having voluntary Bible study with players on the night before a game."

    No, you can't prevent something like this, but when everyone on the team except Moishe and Abdul shows up for it, Moishe and Abdul will necessarily be considered a little different by their teammates. I still maintain that while religious freedom should not be curtailed, religion does not belong in the athletic setting.
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    Super Moderator UGLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    Spider it is a volunteer position and he can not lead religious activities during mandatory team functions. What more could you want, it seems to me that this now has nothing to do with seperation of church and state and all to do with people wanting to go all ACLU on everything that is religious. The athletic department adressed every issue the school faculty had and they continue to complain because now it is semantics. Well I dont think that lib professors should be allowd to force their lib views on kids in classes that are mandatory for kids to recieve a degree but I wont cause a stink about that.

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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    Quote Originally Posted by UGLY View Post
    Spider it is a volunteer position and he can not lead religious activities during mandatory team functions. What more could you want, it seems to me that this now has nothing to do with seperation of church and state and all to do with people wanting to go all ACLU on everything that is religious. The athletic department adressed every issue the school faculty had and they continue to complain because now it is semantics. Well I dont think that lib professors should be allowd to force their lib views on kids in classes that are mandatory for kids to recieve a degree but I wont cause a stink about that.
    I didn't say it was a church and state issue. I'm just saying that in my opinion there is no need to include anything religious in sports. It can only serve to exclude those who don't share the faith, and the benefits are readily available outsdide the team setting. I wouldn't want an atheist, a left wing peacenik, or anyone else councelling my team either. A sports psychologist? That's different - his expertise is directly related to athletic performance and would be perfectly appropriate.

    Liberal professors? That's a whole other issue. A curriculum needs to include many different points of view to be effective, and students in a responsible educational environment are encouraged to question what they are being taught. A sports team is different. The coach's word is law, and so is the word of his staff.
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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    The great thing about sports ideally is that people are judged solely on what they do in the arena. There's no black or white, no Jew or Christian, no honor student or low achiever. When religion enters the equation, the only purpose it can serve is to emphasize differences between players.
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    Super Moderator UGLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    Spider I did not mean to imply it was a chrich and state issue to you. It seems clear to me that it is such an issue for the faculty at ISU. I dont believe it serves to exclude anyone and if so I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that it is a small number of players. I would bet that the overwhelming number of athletes at ISU that have a religious preference would be Christian. So we cant not do stuff because we might exclude a small minority of people. We also cant deny those players an outlet if they decide they need one. Here is how I would look at it if you own a shoe store and the vast majority of people buy size ten shoes, that is what you will stock and when someone comes in needing a size 6 you will special order it.

    Now when you are in school and the prof makes you buy his book and indoctrinates you with a certain skewed version of truth it is wrong in my view. Even if they dont make you buy their book it is wrong. Teachers should be neutral on all issues in the classroom and allow the students to develope their own opinions and beliefs. I do not send my kids to Public Universities so that liberal or conservative profs can force feed them their views of the world. So I see it as the same as you see promoting religious views either in school or on a team. The football coach can have an influence on an athletes beliefs just like a prof does.

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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Faculty panel recommends 'life skills' aide for Cyclones

    But the purpose of a liberal education is exchange of ideas and questionning points of view. I'm not talking about the sciences or math, but about courses where ideas and opinions matter. This exchange of ideas and espousal of professors' biases, both liberal and conservative, are what makes a well rounded student. This isn't what sports are about and I don't think you can draw this parallel between academics and athletics.

    Granted most if not all of the players on the ISU football team are probably Christian, and if they held prayer meetings, everyone would probably willingly participate. But I don't see why this should be part of a sports experience, other than simply to inject religion into another aspect of life. As I said on the other thread, why not have a team comedian or a team prostitute (legal at UNLV?). Because they aren't part of what sports are about. Neither is religion . . . in my humble opinion.
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