A commentary on the Grace Student Handbook. This was passed out to students at the beginning of the 2011 Fall semester. The cover picture is awful, with a picture of a construction site, but at least there aren’t any naked woman on it this time. I will share with you the highlights, whether they be ridiculous, serious, pathetic, or solid.
‘Our aim is to come together as a community of learners united by our faith in God and a common vision’ (9). -Good statement.
‘Students attending Grace should remember their primary obligation and purpose is education’ (22-21). -Also good.
‘Your relationship with Christ is your primary focus’ (10). -Wait, I thought it was education? Either way, it would be nice if more students actually had these two goals. Often enough students true purpose is either athletics or to find a spouse.
‘community of individuals who, through Christ, become more godly than we presently are’ (9). -Good goal!
‘attending Grace is a privilege’ (9). -Understood! Complainers like me need to shut-up sometimes.
‘attitude and reaction to guidelines reveals integrity of character’ (10). -A strong statement that I completely understand.
‘Students, by virtue of their signature on the application form, agree to accept the responsibilities of membership in the Grace community, including adherence to college standards of conduct’ (13). -I struggle with this because of my own witnessing of certain athletics students… so many of us students sign the forms without reading them.
‘off campus students are expected to abide by all college guidelines’ (19). -Not likely to happen, but I understand it.
‘We assume it is your choice to be in the Grace community, and when you violate a Grace guideline, it is also our assumption that the violation is a poor choice’ (35). -Again, I have overheard conversations between athletes that completely go against this statement. Some of them do not care about the Grace community one lick.
‘Chapel serves as a central event for the campus community’ (11). -More like basketball games serve as a central event for campus community. Yes, that may be an overstatement, but I hope it makes my point.
‘Tolerance and a sensitivity to the tastes of others is important for the unity of the community’ (18). -TRUE TRUE TRUE!
‘You must: read the whole student handbook’ (42). -Not a bad idea actually, keeps you informed.
‘all students are expected to complete the online church attendance log weekly, the log must be completed each week by Monday night’ (11). -Never heard of this one before. It is therefore ridiculous!
‘All students physically on campus during any chapel event are expected to attend’ (11). -Hmmm, at least they don’t say ‘required to attend’.
‘members of the community should never encourage one another to violate his familial or cultural values, unless those values are inconsistent with Scripture’ (13). -A big problem if the college is allowing immoral students to enroll. Immoral students will do this very thing, guaranteed. Therefore they should not be sought out and asked to enroll.
‘Practices known to be morally wrong are not acceptable for members of the GBC community” (13). -Duh.
‘In addition to biblical standards, certain social practices in our culture can be harmful and lead to immoral behavior- owning/using alcohol, tobacco, obscene literature, gambling, social dancing in Clubs, failing in financial obligations, poor work performance’ (14). -Essentially, if you are a bad person with bad habits, we will try to change you to be a good person with good habits.
‘avoid extremes in fashion, especially in regard to clothing (indiscreet length/tightness), hairstyles (length of hair for men, and hair colors), and body piercings (at all for men and only in the ears for women)’ (15). -I instantly think of the girls volleyball, Grace issued, team uniforms. Indiscreet length/tightness??? Double standard anyone??
‘In proper respect for the Lord, we ask that men not wear hats in chapel’ (15). -More like: ‘In proper respect for the elderly supporters of the college… so as to keep them happy…’
‘men must keep shirts on in quad and all other buildings except the gym’ (15). -Again, a double standard the college holds for the athletics department. And what about the dorms??? Can guys not take their shirts off in the dorms?
‘music lyrics should not violate clear biblical doctrines and standards’ (17). -Duh, and if I could understand a quarter the crap coming out of the weight room I might have to cut my ears off…
‘Students should not place themselves in comprising situations’ (19). -Like what? Looking at each other? Or my favorite from an R.A. video last year- aggressive wrestling?
‘Students should not lie on couches or the floor of the new student commons’ (20). -Don’t want your dirty, filthy bodies scuffing up the brand new floor…
‘No entertainment will be used on campus which contain themes that glorify immoral living (essentially anything from Hollywood), immodesty, profanity, vulgarity, suggestive language (so Telatubbies is out), drunkenness, or which seek to undermine and attack biblical Christian principles and values (no Golden Compass then either) ‘ (21). -My commentary here is inside the quote.
‘Coaches will arrange athletic practices to allow students adequate time for meals… proper cleansing must be taken after any athletic activity before eating in the Dining hall’ (21, 22). -Someone is dropping the ball on these ones…
‘May not forward or email more than 15 recipients for anything other than approved administrative purposes’ (28). -No spamming people I guess…
‘PG-13 rated movies must be approved by the Head RA’ (32). -I actually really appreciate this rule. It seems like it would really work in my mind.
‘Being on the roof of any building is a $100 fine’ (43- also contains a list of fines). -WOOF
‘students will withdraw if he/she can no longer, with integrity, conform to those standards’ (13). -A student with that much integrity would not be a rule breaker in the first place.
‘violation of standards could be cause for dismissal’ (13). -Yikes!
The college reserves the right to suspend or expel a student from their residence for violation of campus policy, behavior excessively disrupting dorm life, or conduct unbecoming a GBC student’ (31). -Oh to have that power… lol, jk.
‘The President of the College has the final authority on all matters of serious consequence to the college community’ (13, 37). -A very interesting point, that the meaning of which I would like to be teased out a bit more, but it isn’t elaborated on at all in the book.
Sticking it to the ‘Man’
‘Members of the college community have the right to appeal a disciplinary decision, and the right to due process. Also, we desire to have dialogue and input from members of the community concerning standards or policies, especially when they are disagreeable or misunderstood’ (34). -A fair statute.
‘Any student wishing to lodge a formal complaint regarding Grace community issues should first attempt personal resolution by meeting the individual with whom they are in conflict. Should such efforts fail, the student may initiate a grievance by submitting a written appeal to the Vice President for Community Life (Brian Sherstad)’ (37). -Is there a form for this, or is it just a letter that one writes to Sherstad? Anyone know?
The Grace Student Handbook is a handy tool that can keep a student informed, just in case anything comes up. Reading it is highly recommended by both the college and myself. It’s like having an insurance policy just in case you get in an accident. It’s not always your fault, and you can be ready to give an appropriate response if called upon.
There are some double standards between what’s in print and what actually is. I understand that these things can take time to work themselves out, but I desire and request, respectfully, that the college takes steps to bring the printed statements and real life into harmony.