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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. We define secular students as individuals with identities independent of any assumptions about the supernatural, who eagerly rethink their beliefs in light of empirical evidence, and form their values based on concern for the present and future world.

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. Visit our group application page for more information.

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.

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.

Secular Student Alliance Affiliates & 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.

The restriction on the national organization does mean that we may interact with your group somewhat differently on political issues.  Your group is welcome to organize events supporting or opposing political candidates.  You can publicize them widely and interact with them as you 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.

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