RUF Letter to OCRL Director Janet Cooper Nelson, November 28, 2006

November 28, 2006

Dear Rev. Cooper Nelson:

Our ministry, now known as Reformed University Fellowship, has had a long, compliant, and cooperative relationship with the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. Since the very start of the ministry, more than fifteen years ago, we have sought to serve and be active participants in the university community.

We appreciate your letter to us, the student leadership, dated Nov. 20th, indicating your desire to work with us to reestablish RUF as a recognized student group. RUF, its members and leaders, desire not only re-affiliation with the OCRL, but also a respectful and transparent relationship. To that end, we are submitting the requested RLA application with this letter.

With respect to the re-affiliation steps that you have presented to us, we do have some questions and concerns.  First, we feel that RUF – past and present, leaders and members – has always sought in good faith to abide by the guidelines established for all religious groups on campus. However, we were suspended for “non-compliance with University policy and procedure as outlined in The Standards and Conditions Governing the Appointment of Religious Life Affiliates and their Sponsoring Religious Agencies at Brown University” (your communication of September 13th), for “failure to abide by guidelines established for all religious groups on campus” (Brown University press release of November 22nd).  As you can imagine, it will be helpful for OCRL to be as specific as possible in helping us to understand where, in your opinion, we have fallen short so that we may be more careful in the future.  In this connection, we would like to discuss more particularly what we must do to “demonstrate” our “ability to meet, proactively and transparently” the aforementioned standards.

Second, we believed we were conducting ourselves in a fully transparent manner with all of OCRL’s staff, including Rev. Callahan.  Therefore it will be helpful for us to know, as specifically as possible, what, in your estimation, will constitute fully transparent communication with Rev. Callahan and the rest of the OCRL staff as we move forward.

Third, concerning meetings of our student leadership and our RLA with Rev. Callahan, we very much look forward to those opportunities.  What did you have in mind by way of the frequency and objectives of those meetings?

Fourth, it seems beneficial for OCRL, RUF, and all other religious groups to review the procedures and policies for the recognition of campus religious groups. We would be eager to take an active part in such a process with others in the religious community and OCRL.

We are anxious to meet with Rev. Callahan at his earliest convenience to discuss the steps you have outlined for us that will lead to RUF’s re-affiliation.  Would it be possible for you to attend that meeting as well?  We would value your input.  Perhaps Russell Carey might have an interest in attending too.  In any event, it does seem that a good next step will be to have the right combination of people meeting face-to-face in an effort to continue our progress toward a satisfactory resolution.


RUF’s Student Leadership

CC: Ruth Simmons
Russell Carey
David Sherwood
Edward Park

Schools: Brown University Cases: Brown University: Wrongful Suspension of Religious Student Group