Earlier in the semester, students received an email notifying the LMU community that Jewish Student Life (JSL) and Muslim Student Life (MSL) were no longer going to be a part of Ethnic and Intercultural Services. These services are being moved to Campus Ministry.
To many students that are involved in these groups, this news was shocking and rather abrupt.
“It was somewhat of a surprise to us. We didn’t really get any prior notice. It was just one of those decisions made by administration. I think a lot of people are confused and unsure of why that change happened," said Josh Seaman, a junior computer science major and the president of Hillel, one of the main services of JSL.
Because of the suddenness of this decision, Lucie Everett, a senior modern languages major and member of the Interfaith Council began to question how and why this move was made.
“As a member of JSL, I was not sure as to why the move was happening or who was consulted. I have to admit that I am a little critical about how the decision was made because of the lack of student consultation, but I think Hillel overall is optimistic and hoping that it will help to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding,” said Everett.
With the moving of offices, students feared that services might possibly change. Campus Rabbi and Director of Hillel, Zachary Zysman, reassures the student body and looks forward to this promising move.
“Our programming is still continuing as normal. There's been no pause on any of our services. I don't think the students or the community will even notice much difference or change in the beginning,” said Zysman.
Kienan Taweil, program coordinator of MSL, also ensures that many MSL services will not only stay consistent but will be enhanced by the many opportunities that this move to Campus Ministry gives them.
"First and foremost, I feel so much excitement about this move. Now we have this incredible opportunity for all three Abrahamic faith traditions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, are all together under one roof. We are now able to have this dialogue with each other and really work on building a better interfaith community," said Taweil.
This movement is a step closer to welcoming and developing a better and more understanding interfaith community.
“In my experience at LMU, there's been a lot of energy and conversations around interfaith work. Being a rabbi at a Jesuit university, I've always been very curious and interested in interfaith work, so I see this move as the University signaling their interest in pursuing a more active interfaith community,” said Zysman.
Director of Campus Ministry Father Marc Reeves, shares his excitement and anticipates the new company in Campus Ministry.
“We, as Campus Ministry, have an opportunity to grow in an area that I think is underrepresented and underdeveloped, that area being our interfaith outreach. JSL and MSL now have colleagues in ministry that they didn’t have before. I see this as a win-win for LMU and for our students; now we are able to collaborate more than ever in different ways,” said Fr. Reeves.