Trying to decide whether to visit with accepted son. He’s grown up in area with few Jews, and we’d rather him not be one of the few again. We aren’t religious, it’s just a desire for a broader connection from a cultural perspective. When we ask, we get the typical response, people here really aren’t religious, etc., but Trinity is off on Good Friday or Easter (or both). That’s pretty Christian (i.e., not secular), unless they’re also off on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which it doesn’t appear they are. Thanks!
Trinity is in Texas. Most schools here, public or private, colleges or elementary-high schools, have Christian holidays off and not Jewish ones.
I can’t really address your specific issue or perceived requirement, or whether it is relevant. But maybe I can provide some context. Having visited Trinity a few times, despite the name, that last way I would describe it is “pretty Christian”. I would, however, estimate it very well represents a wide range of cultural perspectives, particularly among faculty and the population best described as “involved students”.
Thanks @TexasExMom, you’ve made the decision against Trinity very clear (and confirmed the Texas stereotype)! FYI, most colleges/universities don’t have just Christian holidays off. I wouldn’t expect just Jewish ones off either. I’m sure you’re not sending your kid to a school that explicitly has only Muslim holidays off. Think about it.
I was just explaining what is typical in Texas. Our local public schools have Good Friday off, as does the large public university in my city (although it’s called a reading day). I didn’t think that taking a Christian holiday off meant the school was particularly Christian because it hasn’t meant that in my experience. I can see where it could have an impact on your decision though. I am sorry if my reply came off as offensive, I certainly didn’t mean it that way.
My son is also an admitted student who is seriously considering Trinity. He has a former classmate attending Trinity who is active in Hillel. Perhaps it would be worth trying to contact admissions and ask if they could connect you to someone in Hillel there? We’ve found the admissions staff very responsive. Trinity has a unique vibe and, from our family’s perspective, was well worth a visit.
I’m just wondering what colleges do take off for non-Christian religious holidays? Or is the issue that any religious holidays are observed? - which I can understand being problematic.
I just checked my college’s calendar and they still don’t observe any religious holidays, which is rather silly, as I can remember most of my classes were cancelled by the profs for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Our school district schedules Good Friday as a weather make-up day. I think in Texas it’s just habit or an excuse to get an extra day, most churches don’t hold services.
We have a very supportive Jewish population on campus! The Hillel society is quite active.
Several professors are Jewish and some host Passover or other holidays, and invite students to join. I, myself, was invited to a few different student hosted Passovers, and I’m not Jewish. The Hillel society on campus is supported by the much larger Hillel San Antonio. I highly suggest you contact admissions and get into contact with someone who knows more than I!
Having met many students and faculty from Trinity, I am left feeling you are making a grave mistake taking the input that “Trinity is a school in Texas” to the degree that you have.
Not to get too far afield, but I think Princeton is one of the more Jewish communally active universities around. I am left wondering if there is great backlash against the “University Chapel” there, given how iconic and in some ways central to the school experience it is. It shows up on the official registrar’s Academic Calendar for the University after all.
If one wants to perceive all of Texas and any institution therein as culturally or religiously dogmatic, that is their individual prerogative I suppose. I would guess they haven’t spent much time in Austin though.
Private colleges are different from public K-12 schools.
I expect my public school district to break for major holidays of major faiths and would be appalled if there were a prayer at high school graduation. Freedom of (and from) religion is a basic and constitutionally protected part of life for students attending public schools.
However, I attended a private college, albeit a nonreligious one. They did not cancel school for either Rosh Hashanah or Good Friday. Christmas week, however, was part of the break between semesters.
Of all the colleges my son was considering, only Brandeis and Binghamton had off for Passover/Easter week last year. The others were in session.
Where I went to college, you were allowed to miss class if you needed to do so for religious reasons, regardless of which religion. I think that is common, at least at secular colleges.
I was a little surprised to discover that my college held prayers at things like convocation, but I accepted it. Private schools can do as they please.
And that was a secular college with no affiliation. Trinity University has a Presbyterian affiliation. Of course they would ‘favor’ days off for Christian holidays!
Trinity recognizes it’s roots as a Presbyterian College, but is no longer affiliated with the church. This is what they told us on the tour. Which was a bummer because both of my parents are ordained Presbyterian ministers and I was hoping that might give DD a boost. They do not favor a denomination or religion. Plus the Presbyterian Church USA is a liberal church, so even if they were still “affiliated”, it would not be like going to a conservative Christian college. Trinity leans liberal, so I don’t think it would be the same as going to Baylor, Texas Christian U or Southern Methodist U either. I think those schools are more stereotypical “Texas”.
@sahmkc, for what it is worth, there IS a Chaplain at Trinity, and he is a Presbyterian. But I will reiterate what you said, Trinity is not TCU or Baylor or SMU. Night and day.
If you plucked the campus and students and staff and dropped them in to Massachusetts, you wouldn’t be concerned with an overtly Christian focus. But who would want to do that - San Antonio is awesome!
Also, for what it is worth, the following spiritual fellowships, among others, are on campus:
Catholic Student Group
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Hindu Student Union
Jewish Students Association
Muslim Student Association
Sikh Student Association
United Methodist Student Movement
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
RUF (Reformed University Fellowship)
I sure hope your son would feel welcome at any school regardless of his religion. I do think it is a stereotype to think Trinity University observes only the Christian religion. My son’s faith is very important to him, but my worry as a mom is that I do hope my son can connect with other people in the Christian community, since the campus vibe doesn’t seem religious at all. That being said, our whole family is thrilled for him to meet with students from every state, country, and religion so he can meet a diverse group of people. Our son is choosing to Trinity because of the incredible staff, students, culture, and environment. I really hope you will consider this dynamic school. From our numerous visits, it seems like Trinity has multiple things for everyone!