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Catholic-Based Dorms in Unlikely Places

Troy University

Kelly Conroy - published on 12/06/13

The third-largest public university in Alabama has opened a religious living option for students, in response to the growing demand for faith-based housing.

This year, the third-largest public university in Alabama opened a religiously-infused living option for students, according to an article in The New York Times.

Troy University officials cited a “growing demand” for religious themed housing—surely a source of refreshment in the trend of society’s secularization.

The Catholic-run Newman Student Housing Fund is responsible for helping open the 376-room dormitory at Troy University, and two others at Texas A&M University and the private Florida Institute of Technology this year, according to the Times.

The NY Times article paints a picture of a dorm where students are gathered in the lobby with Bibles, evenings that include discussions about the meaning of God, and a chalkboard in the hallway displays a passage from the book of Psalms.

Writing for, Gerard Bradley describes the faith-based dorms as an “oasis in the madness.”  He thinks that the dorms will be a “source of strength and a platform for maturity for those who choose to live there.”

Bradley stated:

Its [the faith-based housing’s] greatest value is not that it would insulate residents from the indoctrination to which they would be subjected in other dorms. That would indeed be a benefit, but a greater good is existential. Newman Hall residents can support each other in prayer and in faith, and live among folks whose goal for the weekend is more sublime than getting drunk and hooking up.

Arguments are being made against the faith-based housing, as Bradley noted that some say that faith-based housing unfairly gives certain benefits to a group of people.

Bradley points out that the dorm at Troy University is open to students of all faiths, and that most residents are non-Catholic Christians.  Bradley continued:

Universities maintain chapels, and they have religion departments. For decades they have cooperated fruitfully with churches and other religious groups to make services available on campus or near student living quarters. A public college that simply said “no” to “giving certain benefits to people of faith” would itself be making a “constitutional mistake.”

Originally published by The Cardinal Newman Society's Catholic Education Daily on 3 December 2013.

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