Kiss your colleges and universities goodby.
WHAT IS MATF?
The Muslim Accommodations Task Force is an initiative by theby MSA National to invite Muslim students, their colleagues, educators and administrators to discover how Muslim student leaders and colleges and universities have worked hand in hand to make campuses "Muslim-friendly."
To help make campuses more "Muslim-friendly" by documenting existing religious accommodations and facilitating emerging ones. Over time, we will be able to rank colleges and universities on "Muslim-friendliness" and publicize our findings in the media and publications. Prospective students and their families will be able to account for Muslim accommodations as they decide on appropriate institutions of higher learning.
Specific projects include:
- Respond and help MSA chapters who are lobbying for religious accommodations including prayer permanent spaces, counseling services, Muslim housing, holiday observance, etc.
- Research and create a database of religious accommodations on campuses across North America
- Work with other organizations to prepare information packages for interested MSA chapters
A BRIEF HISTORY
* 1960s to 1970s
A handful of Muslim designated prayer rooms began to appear. For decades, Muslim students have worked to facilitate Muslim student life on campus. Much of their work went undocumented and details of each accomplishment were not collected on the national level.
In an attempt to document trends in Muslim Accommodations, the MSA Link began carrying feature stories on Religious Accommodations: Halal food at Queen's, Footbaths at Harper's College, and more.
MSA formally launched the Religious Accommodations Task Force (RATF) to organize all efforts related to Muslim accommodations on campus. Pilot surveys were conducted at conferences at the Northeast, West, and Southwest MSA conferences. Over 6 campuses were successful in achieving religious accommodations after consultation with the RATF.
RATF worked with Shaw University and CAIR to launch a national letter writing campaign protesting the proposed idea of closing down the campus masjid. Through a combination of local and national efforts, the university decided to keep the masjid open.
Based on previous efforts, the RATF of MSA National became one of 19 organizations to receive funding through the ChevronTexaco Foundation in partnership with the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ). The funding, to be used from 2003 to 2004, enables thorough documentation of 300 colleges and universities, Muslim student trends, and the creation of resource guides.
The Religious Accommodations Task Force (RATF) formally changed its name to Muslim Accommodations Task Force (MATF) to better reflect the task force mission. A Project Director and Project Assistant began implementation of the grant in November 2003.
MATF travelled to six conferences to document accomplishments in Muslim accommodations, further awareness of MATF issues, and facilitate student networking.
The MATF website was launched, www.msanational.org/matf including campus by campus documentation of Muslim accommodations, news stories, and resource guides.
First-ever MATF resource guides published and distributed at the ISNA / MSA Conference 2004, covering Halal Food, Islamic Holidays, and Prayer Rooms on Campus. Volunteer MATF consultants began offering consultation to students in each of these areas.
MATF presented to over 100 college / university deans and administrators at the 2004 Annual NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Conference. Panelists shared the importance of meeting Muslim student needs at a session entitled "The Muslim-Friendly Campus: Recruitment and Retention of Muslim Students."
MSAs nationwide began contacting MATF and accessing on-line resource guides for assistance in issues ranging from curriculum development to imams to prayer room expansion projects. Successes with MATF involvement include Islam class at Valley Forge Military Academy; Halal food at the University of Michican, Dearborn; official Eid holiday at the State University of New York Albany; prayer room approval at California State University, Long Beach; and Islamic Center at University of Tulsa.
3 comments about University of Michigan sell-out
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