UC Board bans campus ministry

Ruling: church group "harassed" students

Cincinnati Post/December 9, 1998
By Stephen Huba

The Cincinnati Church of Christ's campus ministry "harassed" University of Cincinnati students to the point of interfering with their academic work and performance, UC's Student Activities Board has ruled.

Student members of the board decided to terminate the ministry's registration as a student organization, effectively banning it from campus. "The group loses all rights and privileges associated with being a registered student group," board member Heath Trostle said in a letter.

Sometimes known as Campus Advance, the ministry will not be eligible to reapply for registration until the 200-2001 academic year.

The group is barred from recruiting students on campus, sponsoring events, holding meetings, being listed in university publications and having a campus mailbox.

Campus Advance has been under scrutiny this fall quarter because of student complaints about its aggressive recruiting activities, especially in UC residence halls.

The Student Activities Board, in pulling the group's registration, found that some of those activities amounted to harassment under UC's Student Code of Conduct.

The code defines harassment as "conduct that has the purpose of foreseeable effect of unreasonably interfering with an identifiable individual's work or academic performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment for that individual."

The Student Activities Board took written and oral testimony from students who complained about Campus Advance members banging on doors, setting off pagers, making repeated phone calls, entering rooms uninvited and pressuring them to attend Bible studies or church services, said Lucy Croft, UC's adviser to the board.

Campus Advance leaders could not be reached for comment.

It remains to be seen what effect the ban has on individual recruiting efforts in residence halls and elsewhere on campus.

"All we can do is make students aware of the fact that Campus Advance's registration has been terminated," Croft said. "It's the decision of the students being approached to ask the appropriate questions and to seek clarification."

UC's investigation of Campus Advance began in early November at the request of Mike Enderly, director of the office of Student Organizations and Activities.

At that time, the university put Campus Advance under indefinite suspension after linking it with a Cincinnati Church of Christ ministry that was suspended in 1989 and never sought reinstatement.

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