Westminster Housing --- W-T-F?!?!

<p>So I'm transferring to Berkeley this Fall and I'm quite excited about it. While attending Cal Day, I notice an ad for housing at a place called Westminster. Enticed by the notion of having a room to myself at a location close to campus, I check it out. It's a large, nice looking house that comes off as a cross between a dorm and, yes, a house. The staff is friendly and I am told about their close community and weekly group dinners. Luckily enough, there is one available single person room, so I snatch it up and put down my deposit... </p>

<p>Hoping that I made the right decision, I go home and find the Westminster Housing website at <a href="http://www.westminsterhouse.net%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.westminsterhouse.net&lt;/a>... All looks well, right? Close-knit student community, free high speed internet, across the street from campus, what more could I want? I relax a bit and go about my life. A few weeks later, I do a bit more research and stumble on this site... <a href="http://www.westminsterhouse.org/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.westminsterhouse.org/&lt;/a> </p>

<p>Wait a minute! What's this about sharing "the "Good News" of God's love in Jesus Christ" and inviting "all students and faculty to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit"? Have I been duped into putting down a $300 deposit to live in Christian housing? As a devout Athiest, I find it very troubling that none of the housing staff had managed to mention a single word about the place being a Christian Community. I came to Berkeley to further my studies and enrich my mind, not to obtain "personal spiritual growth through Bible study, worship and fellowship." Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the Christian religion, or any other religion for that matter. I do have a beef with this housing community for failing to address this pertinent information anywhere in the entire 30+ page housing contract, or anywhere in their main housing website for that matter. </p>

<p>Go ahead and check out the links and let me know if I'm missing anything or if I'm way off base in my complaints...I just found out about this today, so I'm a bit peeved at the moment and needed to rant and also warn fellow Cal students to stay away from Westminster Housing unless you're a devout Christian interested in living in a "Christian Fellowship." I really hope that it's not too late to get my deposit back...</p>

<p>I think there are some non-religious people who live there. In fact I know of a friend who is also a devout atheist who will be living there next year. Maybe you and he will become close friends? From what I can tell, it is substance free (why he liked it), clean and nice.</p>

<p>Wait, why are there TWO sites?</p>

<p>In publically offering housing to communities at large, Westminster House is bound to all local, state, national laws regarding fairness, non-discriminatory, and equal opportunity housing in its ads and towards its applicants. As such, the main housing website that offers the contract cannot detail any information about any religious affiliation, as it would show a preference. However, an alternate website was produced that details the mission of some people who live in the house. The rental contract states that:</p>

<p>"We agree that we have no right or responsibility to volunteer information regarding the racial, creed, or ethic composition of any neighborhood, and we do not engage in any behavior or action that would result in “steering.”'</p>

<p>"We agree not to print, display, or circulate any statement or advertisement that indicates any preference, limitations, or discrimination in the rental or sale of housing."</p>

<p>With these statements, it is clear that you will not be bombarded by Christians living in the building to participate in any activities you do not wish to join. You should be somewhat relieved by what DRab mentioned about his friends' living choice. In terms of course of action, you should call them and tell them there has been a misunderstanding, however, keep in mind that that misunderstanding has been on your part. If that doesn't work out, there doesn't appear to be any legal manoeuvring on your part to get out of this. </p>

<p>Best of luck,

<p>They can no longer truthfully claim to be the newest housing in Berkeley.</p>

<p>Many non-religious people happily live in WHouse. Don't get your knickers in a twist. </p>

They can no longer truthfully claim to be the newest housing in Berkeley.


<p>Yeah. But they CAN truthfully claim that they are the newest housing closest to central campus.</p>

Wait, why are there TWO sites?


<p>Obviously they didn't want another organization to have that name. Perhaps the same thing is happening over at <a href="http://www.westminsterhouse.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.westminsterhouse.com/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>ttgiang15, I signed up for housing at a place called "Westminster House", and then found an official website that explicitly describes its Christian orientation. Its been owned by the Presbyterian Church since 1911, and even has its own pastor. Sure, it is technically open to all types of people, and they can't legally descriminate against me, but I think I have the right to feel a bit slanted by this deal. The vast majority of people living in this community will be Christians, and I will most likely be one of the few people in the house not willing to take part in the weekly bible study, religious discussions, and movie nights. This will undoubtedly set me apart from the community, and the whole reason I chose student housing in the first place was so I could mingle and develop relationships with like-minded people. Well, back to craigslist to find housing with no religious bearings.</p>

<p>teh1337, you are MISTAKEN. </p>

<p>WHouse is not a majority Christian house. If anything, it's majority agnostic. IM some people who live there (facebook group) before you make a reckless decision.</p>

<p>LoL, Christians are in general far nicer and more tolerant than the majority of Berkeley's Campus anyways. Don't get your panties in a bunch just because you read in the Nation that Evangelicals are all whacko and crazy.</p>

<p>DIOGENES, have you met the majority of Berkeley's campus? What're they like, I've yet to meet them? Do you really claim such an absurd thing meaning you know that 11,000 students act a certain way compared with the hundreds or maybe a thousand other students?</p>

<p>Diogenes, this has nothing to do with whether or not Christians are nice or tolerant. I know that most of them, especially in California, are good hearted, kind people. I just have no interest living in a community of people who's most fundamental beliefs about life and existence completely differ from mine... There's no way I would ever subscribe to an organized relgion, and there's nary a Christian who would be willing to give up his or her beliefs. If you were a Christian, would you be interested in living in student housing completely dominated by Muslims? This is not to say that you would not necessarily get along with them, but the fact is, Christians and Muslims have different fundamental beliefs about life, different methods of worship, etc. I'm just trying to say that to be a religious minority in a religious community would be a bit disheartening.
However, according to some of the above posters, I was wrong to assume that WHouse is mostly Christian. My panties are far from in a bunch over all of this, and DIOGENES, I'd appreciate it if you'd make your comments at least somewhat relevent to the discussion... take your "LoL"s somewhere else, perhaps?.</p>

<p>don't worry, it won't be that bad. I mean they might try to convert you 20 times a day...but other than that...shouldn't be too hard.</p>

<p>I like how when the people trying to convert you get out-worded and out-smarted, and all they can say is "oh God wanted it that way" "oh God said so"...(i was being sarcastic btw)</p>

<p>I would describe the majority as pretty apathetic, with your common mix. Christians, though there are some nutjobs out there, are in general nicer on campus from experience. They have higher standards of politeness in general. They say hi to you if they know you, they are very positive in general. The same cannot be said of a majority of campus, while in general for many christians on campus it is true.</p>

<p>And religion hardly ever comes up in conversation anyways. There's the common adage that if you want to remain friends with someone, don't discuss politics or religion. With Berkeley's diversity, religion doesn't come up much because people practice many different beliefs, so why would you even care what they believe if you're a minority in a Christian household? </p>

<p>I think in fact you are underestimating how aggravting the non-student body can be, especially if you go into private housing where you will deal with a lot of very odd people. Having Christian roommates is hardly a problem at all when compared with how bad things can really get. </p>

<p>I think you're just being overly nitpicky.</p>

<p>You keep saying the majority . . . have you met them? At least say the majority that you know, the majority that you meet- you haven't actually met the majority of students, more than 11,000 or so. Maybe I'm wrong- have you met them? Yes, I'm being nitpicky, but you're saying you've met more than 10,000 Berkeley students. Have you? If not, why say it? </p>

<p>I also disagree with your assesment- for some people, religion and politics are the most common topics of discussion. I would agree with you if you were to say that many people don't talk about religion much because many at Berkeley do not practice any religion (many do, but most people I've met and most that I hear other people have met do not, as well as surveys I've read- the general sentiment isn't fond of organized religion. Many do speak about religion sometimes, and for many, when it comes up, it's some negative aspect of it.</p>

<p>Who cares if I've met all of them? You are being more nitpick, all we can do is describe the environment of Berkeley from our own personal experiences. Most students aren't very concerned with politics or religion for that matter. Most have more immediate concerns to attend to. </p>

<p>If you feel uncomfortable around Christians, ask them to tone down the god-talk if it comes up instead of passively-aggressively venting your frustration on an online board. The original poster's "devout atheism" seems to indicate an internal bigotry against those that profess a faith in spiritual matters and believe in god. Evidently people who believe in the bible can't, "further my studies and enrich my mind." </p>

<p>I couldn't care less whether a person is atheist or Christian or muslim. I just offered my perspective that it can get much, much worst than being in a house of Christians at Berkeley and that the poster's bias against them seems an affront to the tolerance which Berkeley prides itself on.</p>

<p>Diogenes, why did you capitalize "Christian" but not "Muslim"?</p>

all we can do is describe the environment of Berkeley from our own personal experiences.


Wrong. Just like DRab mentioned, you can look at surveys and other information that leads to a more comprehensive picture.</p>

<p>Hahaha, oh wow Diogenes, you just keep on coming up with the wisest assertions... Because I'm an Athiest, I'm a bigot against other religions? I don't even know if such a ridiculous comment warrants a come back. </p>

<p>Am I religious in any way? No. Do I respect others who are religious? Yes, so long as they are respectful toward my beliefs, and so long as they don't blatantly act against their own supposed religious convictions (See exhibit A: The Bush Administration). </p>

<p>DRab was absolutely right in both of his points : 1, you have no business making blanket statements about the "majority" of any student body because, well, you don't personally know the majority of people at any given university. </p>

<p>And 2: Plenty of people, myself included, enjoy deep conversations about topics such as religion and politics. Maybe you're content with gossiping over the latest American Idol winners, but I certainly am not. This is the greatest public university in the nation, and I plan on having many an open minded discussion with many a bright and talented person, and this can be hard to achieve with someone who's deepest convictions unwaveringly revolve around the arbitrary writings of an ancient book. </p>

<p>Quote- "Most students aren't very concerned with politics or religion for that matter. Most have more immediate concerns to attend to. "</p>

<p>What could be more immediate than our lasting beliefs about where we came from, what we're here for, and how the existence of our universe came to be? What could be more important than the political nature of the world and our Nation and where we're headed as a civilization due to the actions of our leaders? I'm sorry but these issues concern me a bit more than getting an A in biochem... Whatever though, I'm just "passively-aggressively venting my frustration," right Dr. Phil?-I mean, Diogenes?</p>

<p>DIOGENES, I am not trying to discourage you or anyone else from posting about their experience and perceptions. In fact, I wouldn't mind it if more people did so. The problem is when you expand it beyond what it probably accurately depicts, or expand it without consideing the assumptions you're making and essentially making it sound like you're making no assumptions.</p>

There's no way I would ever subscribe to an organized relgion, and there's nary a Christian who would be willing to give up his or her beliefs. If you were a Christian, would you be interested in living in student housing completely dominated by Muslims?


<p>This is where you're mistaken about WHouse, teh1337. I have several friends who live there. Let me tell you, Muslims, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. live and live happily at WHouse. Christians ARE NOT in the majority. Indeed, I believe that less than 20% (20 students or so) of WHouse identify as Christians-and that includes Catholics. You miss the crucial fact that though WHouse is sponsored by a Christian church, that church is EXTREMELY LIBERAL - especially in Berkeley. Few, if any students, will be trying to convert you. In fact, the vast majority of WHouse students pride themselves on their lack of proselytization and encouragement of religious (or lack thereof) diversity.</p>

<p>I'm sorry but most of the arguments made against my statements revolve around, with respect, politically-correct nonsense.</p>

<p>1) You initial post was indeed insulting and bigoted. You quite clearly implied that Christians were not capable of "expanding" your mind or increasing your knowledge which is most certainly not true. Many of the best students on campus are, indeed, Christians because many are so disciplined and act so positively towards their problems.</p>

<p>The more you post, the more I feel confident in saying that you've probably surrounded yourself with people who think exactly like you for so long, you don't even realize your own biases against people of faith. I think you would find, were you to actively seek them out, that many are no less capable of contributing to society and education as you are.</p>

<p>2) A large random, sample of any population will be largely representative of the majority. Berkeley is no different, and for the most part my meetings with people have been largely random. I did noticed a trend that the more Christian students tended to be nicer and more agreeable than the student body from a large sample. Take from it what you will. An argument that I have not met the majority of Berkeley students has little merit statistically as long as the population sample is random which for the most part it has been in my experiences.</p>

<p>3) "This is the greatest public university in the nation, and I plan on having many an open minded discussion with many a bright and talented person, and this can be hard to achieve with someone who's deepest convictions unwaveringly revolve around the arbitrary writings of an ancient book."</p>

<p>Once again, I doubt you have really met many Christian people and I feel sorry for you since you already judge people who you've never met. I also highly doubt you are ready to have an open-minded discussion, because the door swings both ways mister, and you're stating that you're willing to deal with people of faith, be it Christian, Muslim, miscellaneous or otherwise. </p>

<p>4) People do discuss politics and stuff, but they don't discuss religion much in my experience. I suspect it is because the whole campus is pretty democratic and you can more comfortably discusss it without insulting anyone.</p>

<p>At any rate, I was a little insulted by the initial post. I am an agnostic myself but I find that a lot of what was said was just as bigoted as the things you might hear from very extreme christians.</p>