Discussing controversial issues and tough subjects doesn’t scare one new organization geared toward opening the channels of communication on campus.
The Freethinkers of UTA promotes free thought by students who consider themselves atheists, agnostics, skeptics, rationalists, humanists, believers and non-believers or freethinkers.
Group president Becky Usher, a psychology senior, said the group is not exclusive.
“We are not an anti-religious group,” she said. “We are a pro-science group.”
Usher said she developed the idea for the group when she went to a leadership conference at the Center for Inquiry, where she was exposed to others who shared her views.
She felt that starting this group would give a voice to some who have been silent.
“Instead of uniting around what we don’t believe in, let’s unite around what we do believe in,” Usher said.
The members discuss issues ranging from stem-cell research to phasing out the teaching of evolution in science classes.
Group secretary Megan Rorie, an architecture senior, said she was invited through Facebook and was intrigued by the group.
“I wasn’t set on joining,” she said. “I found out it wasn’t a religion-bashing group. A couple groups I’ve attended have ended up being religion bashing.”
The group will be officially recognized once the constitution and paperwork are completed. A faculty adviser is also needed to approve meetings, budgets and expenditures, though the adviser is not obligated to attend all meetings.
As of now, the group does not have a budget, but Usher isn’t worried.
“When the time comes, we will deal with it,” she said. “We could have a bake sale.”
She also plans to apply for grants through the Center for Inquiry once the group is recognized by the university.
The group is hesitant about charging membership dues, so everyone is welcome free of charge.
“I have a problem charging money for people sharing ideas,” she said.
Rorie said she thinks the group will provide a great forum for discussion.
“In this group, the vast majority is very tolerant of religions and beliefs,” she said. “It will be a good place to have debates about things that aren’t usually debatable in a school setting. I hope it can help to bring together various religious and non-religious organizations on campus.”