Student Association Cabinet members voted to add a Religious Vice President to their ranks during a recent SA Senate meeting.
“The RVP would be a part of SA, but work in collaboration with Campus Ministries to create different programs such as Student Week of Prayer, dorm initiatives, DEEP Sabbath, SA Vespers and more,” said Executive Vice President Dylan Gibbons at the Jan. 23 meeting. “They will also be given the freedom to create their own programs that can create more cohesion between SA and Campus Ministries who often do not work with each other as closely as is needed to create a difference on campus.”
SA senators emailed participants to determine how students felt about adding the RVP position to Cabinet. The results of the study were presented at in the next Senate meeting held on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.
On the survey, respondents could answer two questions and leave a comment. One survey question asked if students knew the duties of a Religious Vice President. Out of 85 students who responded, 44.71 percent answered “yes” while 55.29 percent answered “no”. The second question asked, if the answer “yes” to the previous question, would you like to see the position of Religious Vice President added to Southern Association? Out of 69 students who responded and 17 who skipped the question, 69.57 percent chose “yes” while 30.43 percent chose “no.”
The last option was to comment on the RVP position. There were about 30 comments on the survey. Many of the comments asked about the duties of the new job, how it would improve spiritual life on campus and its partnership with Campus Ministries. Other comments addressed concerns about the proposal, such as the Senate’s budget already being too high, the administration is already a big group and the position seeming unnecessary. Some were even surprised that the RVP position does not exist in the Student Association.
“Campus ministries was actually a part of suggesting this to Student Senate,” said Gibbons. “They are aware and are interested in shifting the assistant chaplain to an RVP position.”
In the Senate Minutes newsletter says that this change would result in the dissolution of the Assistant Chaplain position within Campus Ministries. Normally, Campus Ministries picks theology majors to fill that position. The issue is most qualified theology majors would go into ministry from the Southern Union Conference or other jobs outside of campus.
“The Chaplain’s office is willing to help out school more into a direction of greater spiritual priority, that each individual has a great spiritual priority for God and that as a campus, we are making decisions that are based on spiritual priorities. As we make some of those changes, we go and make the right team. So, we are taking our time this year to make sure we have the right people,” said Pastor Anna Bennett. “We do not have a lot of people step up for the plate say that they are interested until now. So we do have several candidates that are interviewing and process, but we’re willing to take our time to find the right person so that our campus shift towards great spiritual depth.”
In the end, SA senators voted to add the Religious Vice President position to the Cabinet. After a discussion, it was an anonymous vote. The results: twenty-two for, four against, and zero abstain.
“We are wanting to serve our students best of our abilities and we think that having an RVP, said Pastor Anna Bennett. “A student who is a peer, but elected or nominated because of their spiritual leadership has a lot of access to a lot of students to help them with programming or with its spiritual initiatives on campus and it allows us to have broader effectiveness on campus.”