College hopes to hire Muslim Chaplain for fall semester

The+Muslim+Student+Association+will+work+with+Julie+Avis+Rogers+in+the+hiring+process+for+a+Muslim+Chaplain.+Madison+Goldberg+%2F+Beacon+Staff

The Muslim Student Association will work with Julie Avis Rogers in the hiring process for a Muslim Chaplain. Madison Goldberg / Beacon Staff

By Yiwen Yu

The Center for Spiritual Life plans to hire a Muslim Chaplain for the first time for the fall 2019 semester to better serve Muslim students at Emerson, according to the center for spiritual life director. CSL has not yet posted an application for the position.

Julie Avis Rogers, the director of CSL, said her predecessor, Harrison Blum, realized the need for a Muslim Chaplain about a year ago  but resigned before he could hire one. The college already employs a Catholic Chaplain, a Protestant Chaplain, and a Hillel advisor for Jewish students.

Avis Rogers worked with Maysoon Khan, the founder and co-president of the Emerson Muslim Student Association, in the last month to understand the Muslim community’s needs and the chaplain’s job description. The chaplain will help with Friday prayers and have one-on-one meetings with Muslim students when they want support or just want to talk to someone with the same religious background.

“We want to make sure that Muslim students feel that there is a vibrant and safe place for them [on campus], and one of the ways is to have a Muslim Chaplain to support them,” Avis Rogers said.

Avis Rogers also said she is willing to meet with more Muslim students and have them involved throughout the hiring process in summer 2019 .

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Hanna El-Mohandess, co-president of MSA, said the association has around 20 student members in total and about ten active members who come to weekly meetings on Tuesday nights. MSA became an SGA-affiliated organization this semester.

El-Mohandess said she believes hiring a Muslim Chaplain would be a great resource for the Muslim community.

“There have been a lot of things in recent news that have shaken the Muslim community,” she said. “Having that resource and the direct access to someone who understands where you come from in a religious perspective is very important and very helpful.”