Rena Epstein wrote in a letter to the editor Jan. 14 ["Jesus In The Huddle?"] that she felt alienated after reading a Jan. 12 sports story based on an interview with UConn's director of player engagement about spiritually developing players on the UConn football team in which the director was quoted as saying: "We're going to make sure they understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle," among other similar statements.
Ms. Epstein is correct in her criticism. At public universities we value everyone in our community, and treat each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of who they are, what their background is or what their beliefs may be. Every student, including student-athletes, must know they are accepted and welcomed at UConn. Always. Our staff should educate and guide students, to ensure they are well-prepared for life at UConn and beyond.
But it should go without saying that our employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students. This applies to work-related activity anywhere on or off campus, including on the football field. Our athletic director and coach Bob Diaco agree wholeheartedly with me, and have made this clear to their staff.
Susan Herbst, President
University of Connecticut, Storrs