Code of Conduct for Religious Groups

Campus ministers and their staff, religious advisors, and chartered student religious groups function within the Code of Conduct for Religious Groups at Wake Forest University.

The framework has been endorsed by the Office of the University Chaplain. It has been reviewed by the Vice President for Campus Life and the Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students.

It is understood that campus ministers and religious advisors and their staff represent specific religious traditions or faith communities and that their primary commitment is to serve the welfare of their own campus student groups, even while they are called upon simultaneously to serve the welfare of the entire WFU community.

Provisions for the Ethical Framework are as follows:

  • When promoting their ministry, campus ministers and advisors and staff must clearly identify themselves and their particular affiliation.
  • When acting in the name of the Office of the University Chaplain and Campus Ministry or the University as a whole, they must do so in a non-sectarian manner even while acknowledging the particular religious group they represent.
  • Student religious groups must be open to general participation by any interested student.
  • Campus Ministers, religious advisors and staff must abide by the Wake Forest University Non-Discrimination Statement – “Wake Forest University is committed to diversity, inclusion and the spirit of Pro Humanitate. In adherence with applicable laws and as provided by University policies, the University prohibits discrimination in its employment practices and its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status.”
  • A student must be able freely to participate in or to leave a religious group without subject to harassment or procedures that compromise the student’s autonomy.
  • Campus ministers and religious advisors and staff, and chartered student groups should support the university’s goal of welcoming students of all faiths.
  • In public statements and activities, campus ministers and religious advisors, their students and staff must avoid denigrating or de-legitimizing any religious group that has gained recognition at WFU, its religious tradition, or its individual practitioners.
  • Campus ministers and religious advisors and staff must not engage in any action that (a) seriously compromises a student’s academic standing, (b) removes students from campus by pressure or force or without full consent, (c) places undue financial pressure on students, or (d) exploits the sexual or other vulnerabilities of students.
  • In publicizing their campus ministry and its programs, campus ministers and religious advisors, staff, and students must create and distribute only materials that clearly convey who they are, the focus of their group or program, and connections to any off-campus organizations. The title of and publicity for a particular event should make clear the scope and approach of the event, as well as whether people from a range of religious traditions are encouraged to attend.       The name of the sponsoring religious group needs to be large enough to be easily read by anyone encountering the item-whether a flyer, poster, OG&B advertisement, banner or free gift. Furthermore, the name “Office of the University Chaplain and Campus Ministry” may not be used on publicity without the knowledge and consent of the University Chaplain. Use of the university’s identifying marks-including but not limited to the name, initials (WFU), seal, monogram, and Deacon head – must conform to the guidelines established by the university.
  • When desiring to share their faith commitment with students in residence halls, campus ministers, religious advisors, and their staff should avoid engaging in general visiting or recruitment for their particular group or religious tradition.
  • All recognized religious groups are expected to follow university policies and procedures as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Campus ministers and religious advisors and their staff, whether clergy or lay, function as religious professionals and therefore must honor the confidentiality of students and others whom they guide and counsel. Such confidentiality governs unless specifically waived or as covered under specific legal provisions.
  • In cases of conflict among campus ministers/religious advisors, those involved will try to work with one another to achieve a resolution. If a solution is not reached at this level, those involved should seek counsel with the University Chaplain, who may bring the matter to the Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students and/or the Vice President for Campus Life.

Departures from the Code of Conduct for Religious Groups will initially be handled through discussion with the University Chaplain and, if appropriate, other relevant university personnel; e.g. staff from Residence Life and Housing, Athletics, the office of Wellbeing, the office of the Dean of Students, and so forth. In the case of egregious or continuing violations by a campus minister or religious advisor or one of their staff, the person will be asked to relinquish his/her campus ministry at WFU and asked to relinquish the WFU identification card and office keys which he/she gained through the Office of the University Chaplain and Campus Ministry. Before a termination stage is reached, the University Chaplain will confer with the campus minister’s or advisor’s supervisor within the sponsoring organization or denomination and/or, as appropriate, the Vice President for Campus Life. In the case of egregious or continuing violation by a chartered student group, recognition will be withdrawn, as determined by the office of the Dean of Students in consultation with the University Chaplain.

The Office of the University Chaplain and Campus Ministry shall serve as the arena in which possible violations of the Code of Conduct for Religious Groups by religious groups, their campus ministers and advisors are preliminarily reviewed. If a violation is deemed to have occurred, the University Chaplain will write a letter of concern to the group(s) – with copies to the Dean of Students and the Vice President for Campus Life.