The Interfaith Chapel has operated according to a covenant with UR originally signed in May 1990. Because of the changing needs of the faith communities in the Rochester area, this contract may need to be revised in the near future.

The current covenant calls for a liaison between the university administration and the chapel community.

The position, Director of University Religious Affairs, has been unfilled since Dean of Students Jody Asbury moved to her current position in 2002.

Fortunately for the chapel community, the university’s administration has coexisted well with the chapel in these three years.

According to the university’s covenant with the chapel, the Director of Religious Affairs position is “the person employed by the university to coordinate the programs and activities of the Chapel and to act as liaison between the university and the various religious communities.”

Because this position is currently unfilled, there is no true liaison between the chapel and the university. The chapel’s administration and the university’s administration coexist, but this is not an arrangement that will work forever, according to Father Brian Cool of the Interfaith Chapel’s Catholic community.

“They are looking at meeting to look at our covenant with the university in the future,” Cool said.

When the status of the covenant is reevaluated, steps may be taken to redefine the relationship between the university and the chapel. It is too early in the process to know what exactly will happen, but changes in the university-chapel relationship are expected within the next two years.

As the chapel takes in new staff, it will become even more important to redefine the relationship between the religious community and the university’s administration.

Whether the relationship stays the same and a new Director of Religious Affairs is hired or the covenant is restructured, Cool believes the chapel will change to enhance its ability to serve the community in the future.

Nineteen sophomores awarded with Phi Beta Kappa honor

The Phi Beta Kappa honors organization recently awarded 19 sophomores with its annual Phi Beta Kappa Iota Book Award, recognizing outstanding leadership qualities and academic success in the freshman year.

“These are 19 very talented and very motivated students,” Phi Beta Kappa student board member and senior Will Fassett said. “The criteria for the award were even more selective than those of Phi Beta Kappa itself.”

The Iota Book Award has been given in each of the last three years, starting with the class of 2006.

To be eligible for the award, nominees must reach a set grade point average. From there a list of all eligible students is forwarded to professors, who pick outstanding students and write nominations for them.

“We often find that many students receive numerous recommendations,” Fassett said. “This makes it easier to pick the award winners.”

The award is not necessarily given to those students with the highest GPA in the class.

More important to the selection committee were professor recommendations, especially with regard to leadership ability.

The recommendations, in concert with students’ academic records, were essential in the final decision.

For their award, each student received a copy of “Beside the Genesee,” a pictorial history of UR and a copy of the book “The End of the Soul,” by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

Reporting by Matt Majarian.

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