It has been a consistent sentiment that the purveyors of The Student Voice hate the school and are bitter. While I resist this, it brings up a interesting point. First of all let me say that I don’t believe I am bitter, but maybe the heart is deceitful. Also, it would seem to me to be an odd thing to “hate” the college you graduated from, so obviously this must be an extreme situation. More to the point, though, is this “bitterness” question.
I would loosely define bitterness under Christian terms as “unforgiveness based upon a real or perceived wrong done to you; a grudge which Christ does not allow you to hold.” This definition could probably be improved upon, but I assume there will be general agreement that it is something like that. To suggest that we are bitter would suggest that we have been (in our mind) wronged. For that to be the immediate reaction of so many “pro” PCC-policy respondants, would suggest that it is NOT uncommon for students to be wronged, or again, for fairness sake, PERCEIVE they are wronged. I would like to illustrate this with anecdotes from one student’s experience at PCC. The student was not looking for trouble, but it just seemed to be looking for him.
Wishing to play tennis with a girl, the student received the proper instructions from the dean’s office on how to go about it: it must be day, there must be at least three people and two of them must be girls. The student met two girls at the courts and played for a while. Upon leaving, the girls went a separate way back to their dorms. As the student walked back to his dorm a security guard asked him his name. The student naively thought he was being (overly) friendly and gave it, then asked his. The guard asked if he had just been playing tennis, which alerted the student that the pretense was only to get his true name (evidentally the guard suspected the student might lie). A teacher had called in from the AC building that the student was playing alone with a girl. The student explained there were two girls so he was made to sit there for five minutes while the guard biked around to find the other two, which he eventually did. He returned and allowed the student to go.
Points: why should a professor in college waste his time spying on students in plain sight and then bother to find a phone to call it in. Why wasn’t the word of the student sufficient to appease the guard?
The student received a “Phil Keaggy” instrumental tape in the mail, which he open outside the commons on the wall. He showed this tape to a friend next to him and talked about it “out loud.” A chaperone came over and told the student that he didn’t think Phil Keaggy “passed.” The student informed him that he was quite sure this particular tape did. Two days later the student’s floorleader came to his room, having been informed by the chaperone he had a tape that didn’t pass. The student indignantly took the tape to the dorm supervisor, who agreed it did, in fact, pass, as the student had plainly said all along.
Walking from chapel to the AC building, the student called to a friend ahead of him in a “cartoony” voice. The friend looked back and quickly kept walking. The student thought this was odd, but called out again “that’s right, keep walking” in a playful way. He was then whistled at (like a dog) by someone behind him. He turned to see a stern Dr. Goddard marching toward him. The Dr. got in his face and asked, “what do you think you are doing?” A little intimidated, the student replied, “just goofing around.” Dr. Goddard then chastised him for the “witness” he was being in front of the elevator repair men. The student said “I just wasn’t thinking” to deflate the situation and Dr. Goddard nodded and let him go. Apparently it is a “bad” witness to have fun with friends, but a “good” witness to be needlessly harangued by authority for harmless fun.
The student was sitting with friends at a picnic table by Brent field. Girls were sitting at a table some 50 yards away. A security guard came and informed the men that the area was unchaperoned and they must leave. The student replied that he was pretty sure the student handbook says that during daylight hours anyone can use the tables as long as the individual tables are segregated. The guard leaves, presumably to check this rule, and returns about 15 minutes later. He takes the name and ID of all the men and insisted they leave. Upon checking the handbook, it said exactly what the student remembered and that they were doing nothing wrong. No response was ever made by the school.
While it was raining one evening, the student stood on the brick wall outside the commons with a friend. A security guard approached the student and ordered him to go inside. Not clearly hearing him, the student asked him if he was telling him he couldn’t stand on the wall. The guard said again, “go inside.” Wanting clarification, the student asked if the guard was telling him he was not allowed to be out in the rain. The guard responded, “do you want to get written up first?” Bowing to this obvious abuse of authority, the student complied.
The student was informed by his floorleader that he had a tape that didn’t pass which was seen by the room-check floorleader that morning. Apparently, the “Batman” movie soundtrack completely instrumental) does not pass, because of the “association.” That, however, was beside the point. The tape was in a stack on a box behind the students bed at the far end of the room. It was not “hidden” but for the floorleader to see this, he had to be not just checking to see that all students were gone, but searching around the nooks and crannies of another student’s room with the only purpose to find things to get him in trouble. What kind of way is this to treat one another?
Finally, one Saturday afternoon, the student and a friend went out on the grass to shoot a “water-rocket” toy. Having done this a few times, a security guard came, took their names and told them to stop. When asked if this was against the rules, the guard had no response. Again, no disciplinary action was taken against the students? If it wasn’t an offense, why did they have to stop?
I write all this to illustrate what goes on in the life of a student on a DAILY basis, while he is simply trying to live his life. He wasn’t breaking rules, yet still he was completely hassled constantly for NO REASON. If you say “yeah, but he never got demerits for those things, so its okay,” you are wrong. It is not okay. There’s the needless inconvenience, the frustration, the “burden” of constantly being watched, and the possibility (God forbid) that a student might acually think this is what Christianity is like. PCC policy self-righteously acts with complete autonomy. Never was the student apologized to for the waste of his time or the hassle. He was never told, “oh wait, you can go to the picnic tables, our rules say so right here.”
So maybe a student has a reason to be bitter. Well, I don’t know if I am, but I do know this: I am hurt.
Hurt by the treatment we receive from the school and the treatment in encourages in their students.
Hurt that the school treats its visitors much better than it treats the people who pay to be there.
Hurt that each time I took a test the school questioned me on whether I was really an honest person.
Hurt that they turned my graduation into a commercial for how great PCC is by having grads stop and praise the school. Couldn’t we just have one day?
Hurt that in a place of Christians I was treated worse than I have ever been by the world.
And so it goes. Do I expect an apology? No. Is how I deal with this my responsibility? Yes. Am I trying to get back at the school? No. If this was all in the past, it would be just that, and we would all move on. But the fact is this treatment, tantamount to abuse, is still going on. It is not isolated and it is not just.