In its 1998 session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 22 establishing a task force to study alleged activities of "dangerous cults" on the campuses of the University of Maryland System. The task force is charged with submitting a report to the legislature by September 30, 1999. ICRF has been publishing relevant information so that the public and interested parties may be informed on the activities of the task force.
ICRF has maintained since it found out about the passage of HJ 22 in April 1998, that this resolution is not constitutional and that the creation of such a task force threatens the rights of religious freedom, speech and association for citizens who are a part of the University of Maryland System by creating an environment of fear, discrimination and intolerance on Maryland campuses. On Monday, August 16, 1999, ICRF, together with several other parties, filed a complaint in Federal Court charging the task force with violations of the US and Maryland Constitutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education is currently conducting a forum on this issue. ICRF also filed a motion for temporary restraining order and a motion for preliminary injunction, which was denied by a Federal Court judge prior to the issuing of the task force's report.
The task force began public hearings on May 25, 1999 at the Chancellor's Office of the University of Maryland System and has several meetings since on various campuses around the state and in Annapolis. The task force received a wide array of testimony from anticult acitivists, proponents of religious freedom, members of new, alternative and minority religious movements, parents, and several scholars. On August 9, the task force concluded testimony and began discussions leading to preparation of its report. The task froce held its final meeting on September 15, 1999 and submitted its report along with an executive summary to the legislature and the Governor of Maryland. ICRF is in the process of preparing a response to the report.
Dr. Jeffey K. Hadden, Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, has also published an excellent special report on this task force on his Religious Movements Homepage.
More information on the task force and copies of all testimony which has been submitted to the task force may be obtained by contacting Maitland Dade, University System of Maryland, Telephone: 410-269-5085 or 301-261-2143.
Submitted to the task force on May 25,1999
By Bruce J. Casino, submitted June 11, 1999
Given July 27, 1999 by James T. Richardson, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies, University of Nevada, Reno
Submitted by Alex Colvin July 27, 1999
August 9, 1999 by Hana Lyn Colvin
Dr. Jeffey K. Hadden, Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, published an excellent special report on this task force on his Religious Movements Homepage.
Press release from ICRF