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Newman Center

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In the fall of 2013 a new dormitory will be opened to the students of Troy University. While this
dorm will have 367 Trojan-Village-esque dorm rooms, this dormitory is different than all of the
other housing facilities on campus.

This dorm will include the Newman Center, which according to an article published in the Troy
Messenger, is a presence on over 270 secular college campuses nationwide. This 2300 square
foot area of the dormitory will include a chapel for worship, an open area for social gatherings
and an assigned priest.

The development of this dorm is the university’s response to student surveys which indicated
that students are very concerned with the university’s ties to faith-based activities.

“The Newman Center is being built in response to consistent student surveys indicating spiritual
values are important in students living their lives,” said Dr. John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor
of advancement.

“We envision the Center to provide a place to share religious activities, to discuss faith
matters, for students to become engaged in service projects for others and to strengthen Troy’s
commitment to the ‘Trojan Way.’”

The dormitory will be non-denominational regardless of its affiliation with the Catholic Church;
however, there are certain restrictions as to who can move into the dorm.

The preference of tenant will be a student who maintains a 2.5 or higher grade point average,
has at least one letter of recommendation from a person in a leadership position and is active in a
faith-based activity such as attending church or on-campus organizations.

Regardless of the dormitory’s student-centered origin, there has still been some disagreement
between students over whether or not a religious-based dormitory is what this campus needed.
Though the dorm is not specifically built for Catholic students, there is some controversy over
the emphasis of the chapel in its building.

Adria Hill, a member of St. Paul’s A.M.E. and a junior psychology major from Scottsboro,
believes that the requirements to live in the dorm are unfair due to the dorm’s religious
affiliation.

“I don’t like that there are restrictions to get into the dorm, because some people who want to
live there for the religious reasons may not make the cut as far as grades,” said Hill.

“This is a public school, so the dorms should not be associated with religion. We have Sorrell
Chapel and that is enough. It is not necessary to combine dorms and chapels”

Haley Davies, a junior anthropology major from Auburn, said that she understand why the
university wants more responsible and respectful students living in the dorm due to the fact
that they will have to respect that chapel at all hours. Since the housing department could
not discriminate based on denominations or religion, grades were the only way to efficiently

determine the responsibility level of the students.

Davies did, however, disagree with the preference of tenants to be involved in a faith-based
activity.

“Just because a person is active in their faith does not mean that they will use the sanctuary, so
why exclude some primarily based on faith?” said Davies.

“If someone can meet the GPA requirements, they should be able to live there. Religion should
not make someone better than another.”

Davies requested to not give her religious affiliation due to personal reasons.

In regards to student’s thoughts on possible discrimination or the specific nature of the
dormitory, Schmidt specifically stated that the dorm is within walking distance to Baptist
Christian Ministries, the Wesley House and Church of Christ Activity Center. This provides
access for the tenants to a wide range of religious venues.

In the contrary, some students see no problem with the dormitory requiring the tenants to be
associated with a religious association based off of their thoughts on other private housing
establishments on the Troy campus and others in the state.

“I’m not part of a fraternity so I don’t expect to gain benefits from the organization nor do I feel
that I should be granted access to the private club,” said Tyler Harden, a Christian and a senior
social science education major from Ariton.

The idea that this dorm would be considered a private affiliation or a club relates it to the new
athlete dorm that Auburn University is currently building. This athletic dorm requires the tenants
to maintain a certain GPA, have a letter of recommendation and to be on an athletic team for
Auburn University.

“I see no problem in the university making specialized dorms,” said Margaret Stauffer, a junior
psychology major from Auburn.

All in all, the student’s reaction to the new addition to Troy University housing is mixed. The
dorm is scheduled to be finished by fall of 2013 and will be accepting housing applications.