PDA

View Full Version : Hypocrisy at "Christian" Universities



Buzzword
Sep 6th 2008, 04:09 PM
At the moment, this doesn't directly affect me, but it is affecting my girlfriend and did affect me for the three years I attended a denominational university.

The issue is this:
Why do Christian universities tout their students as somehow more responsible and/or more mature than students at nonreligious institutions, yet do more than anyone else to hamper their students and treat them like children?

Example:
On your first day as a freshman, you are fed this huge BS line about how you are a "Christian college student," an "ambassador for Christ to the world," etc etc.
However, if you live in the dorms, you have a midnight curfew.
Students of the opposite sex live on the other side of campus, and co-ed visits are only allowed a few times a week/month.
During those visits, room doors must be kept open, lights kept on, and everyone must stay in a vertical position (whether standing or sitting up).

If you DON'T live on campus, and are under 23, you have to APPLY for PERMISSION to live off-campus, you MUST be living with parents, and have to sign what is in effect a loyalty oath that no smoking, drinking, nudity will occur at your place of residence.

If you were kicked out of your parents' house at 18, and are actually living as an adult RIGHT NOW, tough cookies.


Now, I do realize it's their university, their rules.
However, it screams extreme hypocrisy to spend so much time and energy building students up as better than everyone else, then refusing to give them the rights and privileges of even regular adults.

apothanein kerdos
Sep 6th 2008, 04:54 PM
Well I can see the necessity of rules. No matter how you cut it, these are 18 year olds entering college - no matter how strong they will face temptations. It's nice that some schools go to such lengths in order to protect their students from these temptations. That being said...

The temptations occur regardless of the good intentions of the school. You can easily go off campus with someone and do whatever you want. You can easily sneak people into your dorm room.

To me it makes more sense for the RA on the hall to act as someone who helps to keep the students accountable. You let the student have more freedom and trust he/she is spiritually mature enough to seek accountability.

Buzzword
Sep 6th 2008, 05:26 PM
Well I can see the necessity of rules. No matter how you cut it, these are 18 year olds entering college - no matter how strong they will face temptations. It's nice that some schools go to such lengths in order to protect their students from these temptations. That being said...

The temptations occur regardless of the good intentions of the school. You can easily go off campus with someone and do whatever you want. You can easily sneak people into your dorm room.

Pretty much.
Prime example: For awhile (it has since been removed) an internet filter restricted the sites people in the dorms could visit.
SO, guys who wanted to look at porn just found proxy servers that masked the sites they were visiting.

Making more restrictive rules does nothing if students WANT to do something.

I tolerated it until I left the university.

My primary complaint now is for students who, at 18, are being responsible adults on their own, and can't go to the school they want because the school doesn't trust them enough to let them be adults.


To me it makes more sense for the RA on the hall to act as someone who helps to keep the students accountable. You let the student have more freedom and trust he/she is spiritually mature enough to seek accountability.

I think that would attract more students to Christian universities.
Trust tends to work better in changing hearts and minds than oppression.


Oh! Thought of another example of taking rules too far.

At Southwestern Christian University (just down the street from me in Oklahoma City), a two students known to be dating were fined $200 apiece for HOLDING HANDS at a sporting event. :o
It does seem like churches (and the universities they support) are worried about sexual sins to the exclusion of all else.

EarlyCall
Sep 6th 2008, 05:42 PM
At the moment, this doesn't directly affect me, but it is affecting my girlfriend and did affect me for the three yeats I attended a denominational university.

The issue is this:
Why do Christian universities tout their students as somehow more responsible and/or more mature than students at nonreligious institutions, yet do more than anyone else to hamper their students and treat them like children?

Example:
On your first day as a freshman, you are fed this huge BS line about how you are a "Christian college student," an "ambassador for Christ to the world," etc etc.
However, if you live in the dorms, you have a midnight curfew.
Students of the opposite sex live on the other side of campus, and co-ed visits are only allowed a few times a week/month.
During those visits, room doors must be kept open, lights kept on, and everyone must stay in a verticle position (whether standing or sitting up).

If you DON'T live on campus, and are under 23, you have to APPLY for PERMISSION to live off-campus, you MUST be living with parents, and have to sign what is in effect a loyalty oath that no smoking, drinking, nudity will occur at your place of residence.

If you were kicked out of your parents' house at 18, and are actually living as an adult RIGHT NOW, tough cookies.


Now, I do realize it's their university, their rules.
However, it screams extreme hypocrisy to spend so much time and energy building students up as better than everyone else, then refusing to give them the rights and priviledges of even regular adults.

Just a thought here, but it isn't all about you. The men and women running this institution have an obligation before God and that obligation to God comes before their obligation to you. It is far better to serve and please God than man. By doing the first they will be a good way towards doing the latter, which is fulfilling an obligation to you.

the inside out
Sep 6th 2008, 08:44 PM
Props to anyone that can handle four years at those kinds of schools, because I couldn't do it. I wouldn't do it.

SirTanTee
Sep 6th 2008, 10:32 PM
I think that while the intentions of the institutions are good, the restrictions are not executed particularly well. There should be some standards of behavior upheld, of course - separate gender dorms, zero substance policies, a good dress code, etc, etc. But when all of the rules start to degenerate into legalistic nitpicking like "prolonged eye contact between opposite sexes = expulsion" or "student have to ask the Dean's permission to go to the movie theater" then I think the University has lost sight of the forest for the sake of the trees. Not to mention the fact that some of these rules often restrict study and critical thought. If the University is willing to suspend you for sitting at the same table with members of the opposite gender, then in my personal opinion they've really lost their minds. Socks must be worn at all times? Sideburns may not reach past the lower middle ear? Hollister brand T-shirts are wicked? Only G-rated movies are acceptable? Country music is expressly forbidden? Who has the time to think of these things, much less enforce them?

Here's the thing: overcomplicated rules like this might end up hurting students more than help them. The colleges are trying to create an environment without sin or temptation - that's great. Their efforts have a good goal. But the "real" world is full of temptation. I'd think it'd be better to face and learn to deal with these issues of adult temptation while enrolled in the college, while you're surrounded by a safe, Christian environment - not once you've graduated. What happens when a young man who has been sheltered from all possible contact with sexuality has suddenly graduated, struck out on his own and has no idea how to deal with temptation?

As an adult, no one chaperones you at the movie theater. (And if you're only used to watching G-rated movies, that basically rules out everything except The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins. If you are above the age of 12, good luck.) Lunch tables are not segregated by gender, people do dance wildly to music, women wear pants and you will hear a crude joke at least once in your lifetime. If someone gasped and covered my eyes every time one of these things happened, it would drive me nuts. Young adults don't need to be spoon-fed and kept in a sanitized plastic bubble for their own safety; they need to be eased into the world with support, with guidance and supervision, but also with a dose of respect for their ability to make independent decisions as adults.

RightCross
Sep 8th 2008, 04:45 AM
This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long while. I've always made my own choices, and I think I've made most of the right ones. In my opinion these stringent rules show a complete lack of trust for young adults. God is already watching us anyways, so I see no reason for campus administrators to do the same. Guidance is appropriate, constant supervision and rules, are not.

Are these rules followed/enforced?

SirTanTee
Sep 8th 2008, 04:51 AM
This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long while. I've always made my own choices, and I think I've made most of the right ones. In my opinion these stringent rules show a complete lack of trust for young adults. God is already watching us anyways, so I see no reason for campus administrators to do the same. Guidance is appropriate, constant supervision and rules, are not.

Are these rules followed/enforced?

Depends on the place, probably. Some are more lenient, others are strictly enforced (and eerily toe the line on cult status.)

RightCross
Sep 8th 2008, 04:54 AM
Depends on the place, probably. Some are more lenient, others are strictly enforced (and eerily toe the line on cult status.)

Haha, "cult status"... That would be a little creepy for me. I go to school at the opposite end of the spectrum where people drink in excess, have sex, etc. I wouldn't mind a culture change around here (I'd actually appreciate it bigtime), but I don't think I'd want to go to one of these universities with all of the rules.

I enjoy my freedom and I enjoy making my own choices.

Athanasius
Sep 8th 2008, 04:59 AM
Just a thought here, but it isn't all about you. The men and women running this institution have an obligation before God and that obligation to God comes before their obligation to you. It is far better to serve and please God than man. By doing the first they will be a good way towards doing the latter, which is fulfilling an obligation to you.

Quoted for the truth.
Now then, moving on...


This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long while. I've always made my own choices, and I think I've made most of the right ones. In my opinion these stringent rules show a complete lack of trust for young adults. God is already watching us anyways, so I see no reason for campus administrators to do the same. Guidance is appropriate, constant supervision and rules, are not.

Are these rules followed/enforced?

God is watching us so there is no need for campus administrators to do the same? Do you mind explaining that?

RightCross
Sep 8th 2008, 05:12 AM
Quoted for the truth.
Now then, moving on...

God is watching us so there is no need for campus administrators to do the same? Do you mind explaining that?

Watching or regulating your every little move (ex: all members in room have to be in a vertical position) is insane. I think having separate dorms for female/male and things like that are certainly appropriate, especially at a Christian university. Rules like this that create a general environment in which you can resist temptation and lead a "pure" life are a great idea. I also think guidance would be another important component. Give me the TOOLS to live a good life, don't give me a CAGE to live in.

However this all seems to me like an incredibly authoritative administration. I don't like people telling me what to do, I know the difference between right and wrong. Besides, is this any way to acclimate young adults to the real world? What will they do when they get out of the college?

In the end it comes down to me and God. He knows what I'm thinking and doing, and I'll be judged on that when the time comes. Until then, I don't need someone telling me I have to have the lights on when a female is in my room, or that everyone must be in a vertical position, or watching my every move to determine how many infractions I'm guilty of.

That's really what I was trying to say.

-edit-

And I see there is a rule limiting visits from the opposite sex. That is the most backwards thing I've EVER heard. That completely hinders community building, which is something I think is INCREDIBLY important.

Athanasius
Sep 8th 2008, 02:13 PM
Watching or regulating your every little move (ex: all members in room have to be in a vertical position) is insane. I think having separate dorms for female/male and things like that are certainly appropriate, especially at a Christian university. Rules like this that create a general environment in which you can resist temptation and lead a "pure" life are a great idea. I also think guidance would be another important component. Give me the TOOLS to live a good life, don't give me a CAGE to live in.

However this all seems to me like an incredibly authoritative administration. I don't like people telling me what to do, I know the difference between right and wrong. Besides, is this any way to acclimate young adults to the real world? What will they do when they get out of the college?

In the end it comes down to me and God. He knows what I'm thinking and doing, and I'll be judged on that when the time comes. Until then, I don't need someone telling me I have to have the lights on when a female is in my room, or that everyone must be in a vertical position, or watching my every move to determine how many infractions I'm guilty of.

That's really what I was trying to say.

-edit-

And I see there is a rule limiting visits from the opposite sex. That is the most backwards thing I've EVER heard. That completely hinders community building, which is something I think is INCREDIBLY important.

Oh no, I definitely agree that some rules go far beyond absurd. But lets ignore those absurd rules - you know, taking things to the extreme - and focus on 'traditional rules' (because really, how are they going to enforce me not lying down beside my girlfriend? <-- Not advocating this; this is bad).

I'm going to assume that you have no problem with what we consider to be traditional rules - that's cool. But I think we should all go back and read EarlyCall's post again [Hey, no posting in this forum, you!]. This isn't all about the students. This is about administration being tasked by God to provide an environment where you aren't led to sin. Here's the thing: ridiculous rules can also lead one to sin.

I like making my own choices as well and I know the difference between right and wrong, but guess what? (1) I make bad decisions while knowing better and (2) I could care less what's wrong - if I want to do something, I'm going to do it.

HisLeast
Sep 8th 2008, 02:23 PM
I went to a secular university and those rules were par for the course up until about 20 years ago. Maybe the rules can be canned when kids that age (and I was one not TOO long ago) demonstrate some self restraint and responsibility on their own

CoffeeCat
Sep 8th 2008, 02:48 PM
I go to a secular University, and I WISH the dorms were separate gender. Mine's co-ed. *cringe* I got lucky and got a hallway of all girls, but there are guys just down the hall. Oh well.
(That was just an aside.)

Christian schools need to have certain rules. More to the point, they need to have REASONABLE rules, and they'll know they're reasonable when the students the rules are given to don't mind following them because they see why they're good. Separate dorms for each gender. Being asked to stay in a vertical position with a door open (after all, what do you both want to lie down for? If you're exhausted, take a nap in your own room). Some accountability as to when students will be returning in the evening (I know people roll their eyes at curfews, but if the university doesn't know that you're SAFE at 12 or 1 am, that's a problem.... rather than being BACK at that time though, some schools have a policy where you at least need to CONTACT them by that time to make sure you're alright, which I appreciate). Stuff like this is reasonable.

Sometimes rules go too far - forbidding hand holding and even charging someone for it, at a sporting event? Dictating which movies students can see, if they're over a G level? Things like this get into legalism QUICKLY.

I'd much sooner see a university exercise SOME authority, create rules that keep its dorm students safe, and give them LOTS of seminars and opportunities to grow in their FAITH -- Bible studies, evangelical meetings, church services, prayer meetings, opportunities to volunteer in the community.

Buzzword
Sep 8th 2008, 02:52 PM
I went to a secular university and those rules were par for the course up until about 20 years ago. Maybe the rules can be canned when kids that age (and I was one not TOO long ago) demonstrate some self restraint and responsibility on their own

Do you mean to imply that there AREN'T already young adults who demonstrate self-restraint and responsibility, without the need for an oppressive system of governance?

Those who were kicked out of mommy and daddy's house on their 18th birthday, and were fully supporting themselves prior to starting college, seem to demonstrate enough responsibility to be treated as adults.

And perhaps the reason the stereotype of the 20-something wild partier exists because some choose to celebrate their newfound freedom by sabotaging themselves.

Should everyone between the ages of 18 and 30 be treated as guilty, regardless of proof of innocence?


I go to a secular University, and I WISH the dorms were separate gender. Mine's co-ed. *cringe* I got lucky and got a hallway of all girls, but there are guys just down the hall. Oh well.
(That was just an aside.)

Christian schools need to have certain rules. More to the point, they need to have REASONABLE rules, and they'll know they're reasonable when the students the rules are given to don't mind following them because they see why they're good. Separate dorms for each gender. Being asked to stay in a vertical position with a door open (after all, what do you both want to lie down for? If you're exhausted, take a nap in your own room). Some accountability as to when students will be returning in the evening (I know people roll their eyes at curfews, but if the university doesn't know that you're SAFE at 12 or 1 am, that's a problem.... rather than being BACK at that time though, some schools have a policy where you at least need to CONTACT them by that time to make sure you're alright, which I appreciate). Stuff like this is reasonable.

Sometimes rules go too far - forbidding hand holding and even charging someone for it, at a sporting event? Dictating which movies students can see, if they're over a G level? Things like this get into legalism QUICKLY.

I'd much sooner see a university exercise SOME authority, create rules that keep its dorm students safe, and give them LOTS of seminars and opportunities to grow in their FAITH -- Bible studies, evangelical meetings, church services, prayer meetings, opportunities to volunteer in the community.

I agree that the university should have SOME guidelines in place, though the potential for keeping on-campus students essentially locked in just provides more temptation to do whatever OFF-CAMPUS.

Additionally, as I mentioned in the OP, some universities make students who ARE living off-campus go through a labyrinth of paperwork, making it seem as though the university wants to discourage anyone from NOT living under their rule (and shelling out a potentially HUGE amount of additional cash to do so).

CoffeeCat
Sep 8th 2008, 03:09 PM
Yes, the attitude you've described regarding offcampus students does seem to be odd to me -- for example, to expect off-campus students to live with a parent isn't practical for a number of reasons: not every student will be from the area, not every parent WANTS their son or daughter living at home, many students have been out of their parent(s) homes for some time, and may be living independently. It's too bad they wouldn't consider modifying it to strongly encourage students to live with same-gender roommates, offcampus... or to find rooms in city residents houses, even. That "growing up" experience STARTS in your parents house, but it kicks in full force when you're OUT of it.

I know the University PROBABLY has all these rules to make sure they're golden, essentially, if someone were to question them on their methods. The methods may not be practical at all times, however, as some of us here have pointed out. Treat young adults with kid gloves and they'll act like kids. I know Universities like that want to make sure their students don't deliberately run off and give into temptation and go crazy... but a huge part of becoming an adult, let alone becoming a more mature Christian, is having the ability to make your own choices and to follow God on your own without being commanded to. *shrug* That's just me, though.... but I know that personally, I had to strike out on my own and become my own person and learn to sink or swim without a school telling me explicitly how to do so. (I'm also aware that stricter guidelines MIGHT work for some students who REFUSE to take mature responsibility for themselves, but I'd like to give most young folks the benefit of the doubt that they'd at least WANT to do well and behave on their own free will at a Christian university.....since I'm assuming they wanted to go there themselves, and weren't forced to..... maybe I'm naive?)

IsItLove?
Dec 10th 2009, 11:02 AM
Mommy and Daddy tucked you in and wiped your nose.
Gave you the structure of all those restrictions (rules, laws)

If they did a good job they also gave you freedom and taught you how to make those rules for your self.

Since school is about learning it would be nice to have a set of basic physical safety rules, and let the student body engage each other in regards to what is unacceptable behavior on and off campus based on their convictions (biblical ones I would hope) You might want to throw in some white hairs with veto power to keep sanity in play.

It would be interesting having them all talking about values and what they hold most important. All of them trying to come to some consensus would cause many I expect to see life differently.

The first years would be stuck with what the grads left behind and would have to work for change in what they did not like.

Well it seems to work well in my head anyway.