Life on fundamental Christian college campuses is very different from the social experience on non-religious campuses and even different from those less conservative Christian campuses. It was one of the most interesting things to us. For teenagers, the idea of living without one’s parents generally means some higher level of freedom. Not so at these college campuses. Well, at least I can’t imagine parents this strict.
Pensacola does not allow any non-Christian music to be played throughout their campus, including dorm rooms. But that isn’t the only thing. There are to be no headphones. That’s right, no headphones because why would need headphones if the music you are listening to is appropriate. But not only does the handbook say no headphones, they say no headphones can be brought on campus. So for those of you who are joggers like to listen to gospel music, tough shit. In fact, to be ‘safe’ they recommend that students listen to the campus’ radio station because then they can be assured all music will be appropriate.
Curfew is very important as well. All students are required to live on campus unless they are living within a very small radius with their parents or if they apply to move off campus with their spouse. Curfew and dorm rules are strictly enforced with fines and demerits. Everyone must be in bed, with lights off and not on the phone (that means texting) by 11pm. That is when they come around to check, and yes, they literally come into each room and check. Then, they also have a curfew in the morning. No one is allowed to get up before 5 am unless they have to for work. On top of that, each student is required to have their room clean for daily inspection everyday at 7.30 am. That means everyone is required to be up every morning by 7.30 Am.
Cleawater was once again, the most lax. They have a closed campus, which means that they need to be on campus between 10.30 pm and 5.30 pm. They can have overhead lights on all the way until midnight and go from room to room to visit up until 1 Am. The thing they were most peculiarly strict thing at their campus was their mandated daily showers and weekly sheet washing requirement. That one was a little perplexing to me. I mean, who has to put in a handbook that it’s necessary to shower?
As far as media such as music, movies and tv are concerned they have a very specific system. You may watch movies that are pg-13 or under as long they don’t have nudity, profanity, or excessive violence as a group. However, if you wish to watch a movie in your room that is PG-13, you must obtain permission from your resident director first. And though you’re allowed to have headphones there are specific places and times when they are appropriate. This is also the only college that specifically mentions video games. They are permitted and even some M-rated games may permitted but most likely if they are played as a group. It’s strange that they are more allowing of things when in groups. It’s almost as if the morality of the collective is held to a different level.
Bob Jones is my favorite one at discussing things. They have very in-depth reasons for their crazy rules. As they have curriculum for elementary Christian schools, they obviously feel the need to indoctrinate everyone. Rock is not allowed because of it’s role in “the sexual liberation and rebellion against authority.” Rock is forbidden because it is known by it’s “sensual singing styles, dominating beat, heavy percussion, overwhelming volume, and an atmosphere that counteracts self-control, especially when coupled in performance with elements such as a defiant demeanor, immodest attire, fleshly dancing, or crude gestures.” Also, he music that is Christian that borrows elements from these genres is also forbidden. Instead, students are asked to cultivate a taste for classical, light classical and sacred music. And there is to be No dancing whatsover! As far as movies are concerned, uh uh. No movies or television shows are allowed to be watched on campus. Though in private homes you are permitted to watch G-rated movies or up to Tv-PG. That’s right they even think they can dictate the things you do in private homes while you attend their school.
As far as curfew is concerned, students are to be in their rooms from 11pm and 5am. They are allowed to have their lights on until midnight at which time they are supposed to going to sleep. They have daily room checks to make sure their rooms are clean and tidy. No personal phone calls are allowed after 11pm and no computers should be in use after that time either. When the 10:59 pm alarm bell rings, there is a scurry for their rooms. No one wants demerits.
What does all this mean? All these rules, what do they mean and why do I find them so fascinating? How do they expect these kids to have any sense of personal responsibility when every aspect of their lives is being dictated? Do they think that they are helping them fall into a bunch of good habits by being so restrictive? I just don’t understand when these kids are supposed to grow up and learn to set their own boundaries, standards and alarm clocks. When the threat is gone, will they keep up the strict lifestyle or fall apart like jello out of it’s mold. From my personal experience, those who are forced to maintain this kind of lifestyle go nutty the second the barriers are removed. As Lorelei Gilmore says, “It’s always the good kids that have never had a drink that take one sip of Kahlua and fall out a window.”
Sorry, it took so long to finish. I left it sit in the draft bin for far too long.