Muslim students now have the opportunity to worship on campus.
For several weeks now, students have been using a vacant room on the 3rd floor of the Knowles-Douglas Building as meditation space, after World University Service Canada (WUSC) ceased to occupy it and offered the unit to other clubs on campus. With several ideas on the table, BUSU temporarily opted to make the room a multipurpose area for use as a storage facility and place of prayer.
“I know right now that the room is being used very much and very well for praying purposes by religious students,” said BUSU’s Racialized Commissioner Manuel Godoy. “I think this is amazing given the fact that there hasn’t been a designated place for prayer rituals, and given the fact that we have a growing Muslim presence on campus.”
“This has helped students who pray throughout the day for religious purposes [to] be able to do so on-campus, instead of having to commute to their place of residence, and then back to school again,” continued Godoy. “It is important to support these specific needs from students to ensure they feel comfortable and don’t have to worry about discrepancies, to know that we care and understand what’s important to them to ensure academic and social success.”
The area was designated to “accommodate religious expression,” said BUSU Vice President Internal Raymond Thomson. “An on-campus space for Muslim students to pray is an initiative that embraces cultural and religious diversity at Brandon University.”
Since becoming a quiet place on-campus, the room has hosted ceremonies, and while the space is open to use by all BU students from Monday to Friday anywhere between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, frequent visitors have been given ID card access for use outside these hours.
Brandon University is not the first post-secondary institution to have a prayer room. Similar endeavours have occurred at schools including the University of Aberdeen, Stellenbosch University and Georgetown University, to name a few.
As the decision is only temporary, the room will be up for bidding for clubs wishing to apply for the space for the next school year.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 28, April 9, 2013.