A while ago, I wrote about the Union’s proposed plans for a meditation space within the Union. I recently had a conversation with the Union about their proposal and thought it might be worthwhile to share some of the developments.
Apparently, the plans for including a foot washing basin/floor-level sink have been modified. The Union is currently planning on locating the basin in a special gender non-specific bathroom near the mediation room. The interior of the room will also be decorated along the lines of a “natural” theme (plants, sunlight, etc.). The room will also be non-reservable and simply open on a first-come, first-serve basis.
I think this seems a better way to go, compared to some of the Union’s earlier plans. The incorporation of religious items in the room would only complicate the purpose of the room. As I understand it, the room is designed to be a place where students can get away from the chaos of campus life. Particularly since some reports indicate that stress among incoming freshman is at an all-time high, the utility of such a mediation room is obvious. The inclusion of religious items in the room would lead to unnecessary conflict as different groups compete for the limited space and resources of the room.
This changes are generally a positive development. The current plan solves some of the safety and logistical issues involved with Muslim students’ devotional practices while avoiding the problem of having one group dominate (or appear to dominate) the room.