SSA Minimum Standards for SSA Support
The Secular Student Alliance invites college and high school groups, who advocate for and support secular students, to join the Secular Student Alliance. Our Minimum Standards of Affiliation are based on the Mission, Vision, and Core Values of the Secular Student Alliance.
Secular Student Alliance groups are often composed of atheists, agnostics, Humanists, freethinkers, skeptics, Pastafarians, others who identify as non-religious or secular, and theistic allies. We define secular students as individuals who form their values and identity solely around a naturalistic understanding of the world. Secular students form their values independent of supernatural sources of guidance, preexisting laws, or religious texts and traditions. They also stand in reverence and awe of the universe, the purpose humans have in it, and see a higher value in their finite lives and those of others.
Groups must be:
We foster safe, welcoming, and supportive spaces for secular students on campus and in the larger secular movement. Strong communities are integral to creating a safe and positive environment for all secular students.
We effect positive change by working with other communities and allies who share our values and will work with us toward shared goals.
We embrace human and civil rights, social justice, and other ideals informed by the philosophy of humanism. Groups should also seek a diversity of students who share these core values, and reach out to those who have been historically marginalized in society or underrepresented within the secular movement.
We will not support groups that promote a denial of rights or liberties in areas of religion, speech, or equality under the law or in society. Groups who actively promote sexism, racism, homophobia, or Islamophobia do not meet these Minimum Standards.
We embrace and welcome individuals regardless of their identity. This includes, but is not limited to, religious affiliation, worldview, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Additionally, we actively seek to foster, and engage with, diversity at all levels of the national secular student movement.
An SSA group may not deny membership to individuals based on their identity. However, groups can and must set and enforce acceptable limits of behavior within the group in order to foster a safe and comfortable space for all secular students.
We hold a naturalistic and non-theistic worldview as the basis for understanding the cosmos. We believe that critical inquiry and empirical investigation are integral to understanding the universe in which we live.
Groups that advocate for supernatural or pseudo-scientific phenomena, or take a neutral stance on naturalism (as many philosophy clubs do), are not appropriate for SSA support.
For further guidance on what activities that we recommend that your SSA group engage in, check out our CASE guide.
Secular Student Alliance Groups & Political Activity
Because the national Secular Student Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization, we are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities - namely, political campaigning. However, that restriction does not extend to your student group: your SSA support does not prevent your campus group from engaging in a wide variety of political activities (however, your school or other affiliations might, you should check). For example, you may bring in speakers to educate your members on an upcoming election issue. You can bring in elected officials to speak to your group, even in a campaign sense during election season. These elected officials may include economic material in their presentations, and that is just fine. You may even choose to take a position on supporting or opposing a sitting politician. All SSA affiliated groups can choose to support or oppose elected officials currently in office.
The restriction on the national organization does mean that we may interact with your group somewhat differently on political issues. SSA branded groups cannot endorse or oppose political candidates during an election period. Non-SSA branded groups may do so and can publicize this stance widely they see fit. However, the national SSA cannot assist you with promotion or writing press releases, and we cannot feature those events on our website or in other materials. We also cannot provide funding or other support (project grants, speakers bureau funding, tabling supplies, etc.) for those events.