What's with the Code of Conduct?
Q. Some of the Christian colleges I'm looking at want students to sign a "code of conduct" that says we won't drink alcohol, smoke or have sex. A few are even stricter than that, like not allowing guys to visit girls' dorm rooms. Why do they want me to sign this? Don't they trust me to make my own decisions? What if I don't agree with everything on it?
A. It's helpful when colleges are up front about their expectations. That gives you every opportunity to decide which college community you want to be a part of. And "community" is an important word here, because that's just what each school is trying to establish. That's why a lot of Christian schools set up codes of conduct: They want to create a community of students, staff and faculty who follow God's commandments.
Try to think of the code of conduct as a positive expression of what the school is about. They're concerned with more than just your brain. They are trying to create a positive environment where you can live and learn and maximize your education without worrying about the hazards of alcohol, drugs, cheating, etc. They are also trying to encourage godly living and holiness in the lives of students. They want you to think carefully about the choices you make, while you are a student and beyond.
Many students are willing to give up some of their personal "rights" when they enroll in schools with a code of conduct, because they see something so good there that they want to be a part of it. Their former "lifestyle" is less important to them than the opportunity to be part of the mission of that school. For someone who has participated in alcohol use, for example, it can be helpful to be in an environment where drinking is not allowed.
The standards of a school are not random rules for students to follow. Many of them are determined by what the Bible says. Isaiah 5:11-12 warns against alcohol abuse. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 is one of many passages that tells us to be sexually pure. Other standards, like no men in women's dorms, or no social dancing, may be set up because the college feels they are essential for training students to lead godly lives. During your college search, talk about any code of conduct with an admissions counselor. Those conversations can be rich and helpful for them and for you.
Not all Christian colleges have a formal code of conduct. Whether you sign something or not, your very enrollment is viewed as a commitment to the school and its "lifestyle" expectations.
If you cannot agree with the standards and practices of the college and submit to those over the four or more years of your enrollment, I would urge you not to go there. Your integrity is very important to you and to God. If you "sign on" and then willfully violate that trust, it's a violation of your personal integrity. We are to be people of truth and of our word, according to God's Word. If you don't agree with the rules, if you cannot follow through, enroll elsewhere. Your integrity is at stake. Be a person of your word. Keep your promises.
Written by Judy Moseman