Have You Heard The One About…The Marker Fight?

While I was a student at PCC, I was fortunate enough to work on the Work Assistance program. It helped pay my bills, so I cannot complain. The summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year, we moved into the new Distribution Center over off Rawson Lane. A— was our work supervisor: a highly qualified supervisor who was, oh, at least two or three years older than the rest of us.

Anyway, one afternoon, several of us got into a marker fight, a friendly fight that happened to include members of the opposite sex. This all happened right before lunch. Our supervisor, went and told her supervisor, D—. Well rather than handling it himself, he told his supervisor. By that afternoon, word had reached Dr. Horton, and we were all in deep trouble. As punishment for our misdeeds, we were all transferred from the Distribution Center to some more undesirable work assignment for the rest of our career as work assistance students.

They transferred one person to the sign shop, one to grounds, one to housekeeping, and I, of all places, was
transferred to food service. All of this for marking on a girl’s arm with a marker.

A Public Apology and Revelation of Leibniz’s Identity

Apology.

It is the purpose of The Student Voice to remain a journal of integrity, honesty and one based upon Scriptural principle. One of our primary areas of emphasis is on the fallibility of human nature, and thus the need for a check on that fallibility. Whether it be you as a reader, us as The Voice, or PCC,
we must all be willing to engage in at least a minimal level of introspection from time to time. We at The Voice do take what we do seriously, and after reexamining our first three months in existence, we recognize that there have been some very positive aspects that we will continue to do, while at the same time, there have been some negative aspects that have probably turned away some readers and have perhaps made us a little less credible than we should and could be.

One of the negatives that we want to make a public apology for before the new year begins is regarding the overuse of sarcasm. If an argument or a point is valid, it does not need dripping sarcasm to add some extra validity to it. It is our feeling that some of those who disagree with us understand things better in a sarcastic tone, and this is due, perhaps to being immersed in a legalistic environment that is full of paradoxes and ironies that simply beg for a sarcastic remark. This, however, does not mean that a sarcastic remark is always required. In the first several months of The Voice’s existence, we have done far too much of it in the public issues, and for that we apologize to you, the readers, to PCC, and most importantly, to God.

Now, let us make it clear that we have NO intention of refraining from pointing out nonsense, hypocrisy and legalism at PCC, but we will do our best to refrain from using sarcasm in the process. Sometimes this line will not be clear – is The Voice simply pointing out something that is ridiculous, or is it being sarcastic? This is something that we request your input on and something that we will do our best to stay on the right side of the line. Remember, however, that we are human just like you and just like PCC – we
will make mistakes.

Revelation of Leibniz’s identity.

One of the things that has made me (Leibniz) the most uncomfortable about putting out The Student Voice is being anonymous. I am not the slightest bit afraid or intimidated to state who I am or where I stand, and those who know me know that to be true. However, until only a few weeks ago I have basically been incapable of revealing who I am, and these reasons and developments will be discussed in more detail in a later issue. Suffice it to say that the most important reasons – the ones which I could not reveal – for anonymity are no longer present, and so I am free to reveal who Leibniz is.

Let me make something else clear, though: this newsletter is not about me, nor should it be. It is about what is right and what is wrong, and who I am makes no difference whether something is either. Most of the complaints have been about my remaining anonymous, even though few people know the entire story. That’s fine, and even though most of those who complained about me not revealing my name would likewise not reveal theirs, I still recognize it as a valid concern.

With all of that said, I am hereby relegating “Leibniz” to the archives of PCC history, short-lived as it may have been, his name will no longer be a mystery to The Student Voice readers. I am:

PAUL S. PERDUE
[Address and phone number redacted in this archival copy by the curator]

B.S. – Criminal Justice, Pensacola Christian College, 1993
J.D. – Catholic University Law School, Washington D.C., 1997

Please keep the prank phone calls between the hours of 7 a.m. and 12 midnight. Thank you.

A Classic PCC Irony

One of the interesting aspects of PCC is that everywhere you look, there is always a different “irony” that is a direct result of the policies which the school has seen fit to enact – i.e., separate but public beaches, a claim to moral superiority at an unscriptural church, the requirement of “closet
devotions” except if you’re a mixed couple, PCC’s Biblical “discipline,” etc. This reminds me of Paul’s exhortation to the church at Corinth when he was quoting the book of Isaiah: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (I Corinthians 1:19) When we examine these ironies in the light of Scripture and reason, the ludicrous nature of PCC’s “system” becomes all the more apparent.

If you happen to have a 1996 PCC Summit, I ask that you read no further until you open it up to pages 40, 41. . . . For those of you who do not have ‘96’s yearbook, let me describe the picture that is the centerpiece of this page. First of all, let it be noted that this is the page that introduces the “collegians,” and for those of you who do not attend PCC, a “collegian” is a spin off of the collegiate fraternity system in secular schools, only it has a “Christian” emphasis. . . supposedly. They are campus organizations to which each student MUST belong, regardless of whether or not the student actually desires to be a part of a collegian. These collegians meet a couple of times a month to (1) “conduct business,” which is business strictly governed and controlled by the administration and with little room for creativity by the students; (2) “fellowship” (I have always found the “forced” fellowship an unusual policy, but a policy I have come to expect at PCC); and (3) “fun and games,” even though a student may have a test the next period, he or she must still participate in these juvenile activities.

This is, however, beside the point. These pages that I refer to are the introductory pages of the collegian section of the yearbook. There are four subsidiary pictures surrounding one primary picture, and it is this center picture that I would like to discuss. The setting is “Greek Rush,” also commonly referred to by the students as “Geek Rush,” apparently because of the high geek-to-student ratio at this event. Again, for those of you who do not attend, this is an event at the beginning of the school year where each collegian parades through the center of campus in the midst of throngs of students in an attempt to persuade new students that they are the best collegian and should therefore be joined. The tactics used to persuade the students are a bit odd, for they do not demonstrate anything, really, at least nothing of any importance or substance. Each collegian arrives in a unique vehicle, be it an antique car, a fire truck, a crane, or even a small plane. Somewhere in the entourage are the following characters: the collegian mascot acting like an imbecile usually, some athletes dressed in their athletic clothes (this is one of the acceptable times for guys to wear shorts in public), some cheerleaders, a few of the more “rowdy” members of the collegian (for “spirit”), and occasionally a few faculty members. This
is supposedly what new students are interested in, and based on this parade and a booth that has been set up, which doesn’t include much more than the parade does, a student must pick his or her collegian family.

Again, though, this is essentially irrelevant to the point of this article, but the context must be understood. In the background of the picture is Griffith Tower, its impressive brick structure creates an
institutional backdrop against the bright blue Florida sky. The picture has you in the middle of the street looking at a particular collegian’s entourage proceeding directly towards you. Along the sides of the street are students standing and sitting, all looking amazingly interested. Approaching you as
you observe this picture is what appears to be a dump truck loaded with a bunch of guys in the back, hanging off the side and even sitting on the hood. But the center of this picture, and I can only assume the main theme of the yearbook’s portrayal of the collegian system are two guys holding a large sign that says, “BE YOURSELF.”

Think about that for a minute – be yourself. And then remember where this is at – PCC. One of the last places on earth that you can “be yourself” is at PCC. “Being yourself” is one of the quickest ways to get shipped; “being yourself” means ignoring all of the restrictions that you would normally never impose on yourself; “being yourself” means NOT being what PCC wants you to be. So, why would this sign not only be allowed by the administration (remember, everything goes through “ad check”), but why would
it also be the central theme of the collegian section of the yearbook? What are the reasons for this sign being where it is while saying what it says? Or has anyone ever even thought about it?

REASONS AND PROBLEMS

Reason A. A way to entice freshmen.

One of the possible rationales for this message is a concerted effort by the administration to send a message to all of the freshmen that collegians are a place that you can “let your hair down,” so to speak, a place where you don’t have to follow the crowd. This is certainly an enticing idea, and even though this may have never been intended, it certainly has crossed someone’s mind. Bear in mind that the freshmen have only been around for a week or two when this takes place, so they are still “adjusting” to the new lifestyle and will probably be looking for some relief.

Freshmen are still used to the outside world (“real” to me; “unreal” to PCC). When a freshman sees a sign that says “Join us, and you can be yourself,” he thinks to himself that this isn’t so unusual – PCC may have some “normal” aspects after all. Everyone wants to “be themselves.” Few people want to be considered someone who does something simply because everyone else does it. “Be yourself” sends a positive message to new freshmen.

Problem.
The problem with this reasoning is that it simply is not honest. A student can no more “be themselves” in a collegian than they can be in their dorms or in a class. Sure, the activities are more relaxed and informal than in, say, a church service, but as we all know, demerits are handed out just
as freely in collegian meetings as they are anywhere else. If a student, particularly a collegian officer wishes to actually follow this encouragement and “be himself,” guess what happens? The next time he wishes to be himself, he will be doing so as a non-collegian officer, if he is lucky.

I honestly do not know what the reasoning was behind allowing this sign to be placed where it was, but I know that if it was because someone wanted someone else to believe that this was actually allowed or encouraged on the campus of PCC, then the person who permitted it was being flat-out dishonest. Why have rules if everyone can be themselves? The whole purpose of having a system of control is so that people WILL NOT be themselves, for we are sinful people. If PCC wants its students to be themselves, then I would encourage them to throw away the handbook as soon as the next semester starts. If they do NOT want students to be themselves, which I suspect to be closer to the truth, then I would encourage the yearbook staff to be more careful next time not to create a false impression of the truth, for a false impression is every bit as false as an actual statement.

Reason B. PCC actually believes it.

Perhaps the reason PCC allowed the message “Be Yourself” to be the theme of the collegian section of the ‘96 Yearbook was because they actually believe that while at PCC, students are “being themselves.” This sort of goes hand-in-hand with the reasoning that because inside the walls of PCC is a closer representation of “truth,” it is therefore the “real world” as opposed to that which really exists outside the walls. PCC becomes the focal point of reality. All ideas are filtered through the screen of PCC ideology. However students act on campus (assuming they are abiding by the policies) is the way that students can actually “be themselves.” Deep down inside each student’s psyche is a sort of Freudian-like, unconscious desire to be told what to do all the time.

Or perhaps the collegians are where this act of “being oneself” takes place. I find this highly insulting as a former student, because I can assure the administration that “being myself” in no way included being forced to participate in juvenile activities. For many students to “be themselves”
would mean that they would be involved in NO collegian at all, not IN one acting like a child.

Problem.
The problem with this is that “being oneself” is not synonymous with being a PCC clone. If this were so, then people would continue after graduating to live in the PCC way, and there would be many others who would had never lived at PCC who would live the same way. However, there are few who fit this description, so either most of civilization is not “being themselves” or PCC’s possible idea that “being yourself” is synonymous with the way students (and faculty) are required to live is simply not accurate.

Reason C. Ignorance.
This, I suspect, is the real reason for the sign being displayed as the introduction to the collegians. I suspect that no one ever actually thought about it. Hey, it sounded “cool,” and it looked “groovy.” And isn’t that what collegians are all about? I suspect that when the administrator who approved this message to be displayed in front of thousands of students and faculty (and guests?) sat down and actually approved it, he or she never even stopped to think about what message the message would send. No one actually realized that a student could never “be themselves” while on campus at PCC and so therefore, this sign represented an inaccurate image of what PCC is about. Therefore, the sign should not have been displayed. It is a rather simple thought process, but simple thought process’ seem to be often lacking at PCC.

Problem.
The primary problem with this is that at a college, this should be the last place where a lack of thought produces such an obvious irony. A place where “higher education” is taking place should actually produce something that is “higher.” Of course, this is a subjective term, and perhaps the administration should clarify just how “high” they intend a student and themselves to be able to think. Perhaps it is equal to the level of control imposed – adolescence? Or perhaps it is “higher” than junior high. Any
higher would eliminate ironies such as the one on this yearbook page.

Unfortunately, simple thought and numerous ironies are commonplace at PCC, and frankly, it is embarrassing. I had a student write me not too long ago trying to explain that PCC never searches for truth, because God reveals it to us directly. But yet the school does claim to be searching for truth as the college hymn, “Searching for Wisdom” would seem to indicate. And another student tried to explain that the school does not allow men and women to hold hands because of Paul’s admonition that it is not good for a man to touch a woman, but yet the school DOES allow students to hold hands, even though it is in a highly controlled environment.

Where is the higher thought? Where is the simple understanding that an ironic message displayed to the world should be an embarrassing message? Where is the understanding that a system that discourages creativity and independent thought will do just that? And why does PCC pool all of its efforts to maintain such a system? Legalism will do that. A man-made system of morality will create embarrassing situations and plenty of ironies, and when it reaches the level it has on the campus of PCC, it will greatly eliminate rational thought, and with a little rational thought, this would have never happened.

But what’s the big deal, you might be asking? Inaccurate messages by one claiming to be “real” is always a big deal.

Epilogue.
It is interesting to note that the person who created this sign was asked not to come back because he “didn’t fit into the ministry of PCC.” Perhaps he followed his own PCC-accepted words of advice? Ironic, isn’t it?

Message From a PCC Alumnus

I wanted to comment on your newsletter. I have been reading it and keeping up with it when I get a chance. Yes, as a former student I would disagree with many of the rules and do not know if I could recommend the school to someone wanting to enter the secular world of work (non-full time Christian service).

However, I believe you and those rallying behind Student Voice are missing a point, and a very important point at that.

Pensacola Christian College’s whole infrastructure is based on the independent Baptist movement. (for the most part, that is) So the concept of marketing, as worldly as it may sound, comes in. Dr. Horton has chosen to market his product (education) to those in the independent Baptist world, therefore the Independent Baptists, or hyper fundamentalists, as I like to call them, trust in PCC to offer services
that would fit their list of rules.

Now, if Dr. Horton were to suddenly change and say, “Hey, I have been wrong in imposing these rules on these poor students,” he would lose 95% of the students. Why? That is his market.

Take Liberty for instance or Moody. If you were to go on their campuses you would see a whole different market. A different psycographical (not really demographical, as they are all between 18-25) market or audience.

So what am I saying? I think you are attacking the symptom and not the problem. Personally, I will not waste my time, because it would be like me going to Taco Bell and saying, “Why do you operate under this
infrastructure? Why are you targeting that segment? And in reality they are very successful in their market. Are they successful in selling burgers. NO. They market “Mexican” food.

Leave PCC alone. Hey, they are making money, they are somewhat training young people, and they are definitely reaching their target audience. As the Lord has removed me from that whole hyper fundamentalist movement into what most of the PCC market would consider “neo-evangelical” I have seen that the Christian world is waaaaaaaaay far bigger than the independent Baptist movement. I in no way negate that God has used this movement in the past, but may we always remember that God cannot be boxed
up into any one movement or institution.

My whole point is: Arlin has chosen his market and to change it would mean a phenomenal and revolutionizing restructuring, which I do not see–of course you may say I’m putting God in a box, eh? :)

Good day.

A Wish List for Arlin Claus

As The Student Voice looks back at its infancy in 1996, it is apparent that we have struck on issues that have been very near to our readers. Every week we receive dozens of letters, both commending and berating us for our efforts. The Student Voice has provided necessary encouragement to many students and faculty at PCC, showing them that they are not alone, and that the problems they see, which are continually ignored by the powers that be, are real. Well, we are also glad to see that the administration has been reading The Voice. No, perhaps not too thoroughly, but they ARE ever so busy.

In one of our earliest issues we expressed that the school was overstretching its bounds in some of the ways that it “provided” all of the housing for the staff families. We are pleased to report that within the last few months, PCC has begun to offer the faculty the option to buy their homes. This helps staff/faculty achieve some autonomy and independence, while cutting back on PCC’s own empire-building. We do not know many particulars of this program, but we see it as a step in the right direction. Now, of course, we at The Voice don’t care who gets credit. We just want change.

It is in that spirit, and in the spirit of giving that we have prepared this Christmas Wish List for Arlin Claus, himself. We encourage PCC to implement as many of these changes as they can “quiet as a mouse” over the Christmas break. We at The Voice wouldn’t think of taking any credit whatsoever.

***** The Christmas Wish List *****

1.) No lights out.
PCC certainly doesn’t want to lower its “standards,” but hey, this isn’t a sin issue. It’s simply a huge annoyance. A bedtime is for kiddies, and if it is one of the school’s goals to teach responsible use of time, give the students the time so that they can be responsible with it. The 23 and older students have no lights-out, so why put a completely arbitrary age limit on it? Plus, this rule unfairly punishes “nite owls” who do their best work in the late evenings. It is ridiculous that for four years you can’t stay up to pray, to talk, to work, anything – unless it is a PCC job. Trust us, students know when and how much sleep they need. The best thing, we believe is to make THAT time “quiet hours.”

2.) Quit screwing with the phones.
Obviously, rumors abound about phone-tapping, blocking numbers, and the like, so we suggest this: just leave them alone. Not being allowed to call the girls dorms in the evening is simply unneccesary. Turning them of at 10:00? Why? Of course, there will be students who talk too late or who hog the phone, but that is life, and it seems as though college students ought to be able to work those things out. The switchboard is inadequate to handle the volume of calls, so it ought to be eliminated and each room simply have its own direct line. This works at hundreds of colleges. Trust us, students can actually handle their own phone bills!

3.) A Revised Dress Code.
1/2 of the dress code rules are made on a whim from who knows who, and this puts an annoying burden on the students to look like how some administrator’s 55-year old wife thinks they should. To think that God actually doesn’t want his children to wear shorts when it is 95 degrees out is just silly. And the rule that men must wear pants to the beach – evidently the school wants its men to strip down naked behind a car door to take off a wet bathing-suit, and to get back into pants since the required beach has no changing rooms.

4.) Rethink Hair-Check.
The current system is completely subjective and each dorm seems to have a different “standard.” Also, the practice of all the men having to line up in the hall facing the wall as a staff member walks by judging them is a little abusive. There’s no reason to treat the students like that.

5.) Decorating The Rooms.
Do a little research and find an adhesive that the students can use to put up posters in their rooms without harming the precious walls. Then sell it exclusively in your own bookstore. This is not difficult.

6.) Let the Students Pick Their Church.
Okay, there’s no chance of this happening, but it needs to be mentioned. Think of the great impact 4000 students could have on the town of Pensacola if they went out to all the churches and were a blessing. Just young people’s presence at some old churches would make a difference. It would also create vitality on campus, as students learn different things. The school would still have all their chapel services to make sure the students were receiving the “proper” indoctrination. But, there is the TV show, and that big auditorium to fill. . . . Never mind that a school has NO business “running” a church. Are there elders? The student members certainly have no input in “their” church. And how about kicking people out? The Campus “Church” has absolutely no system of restoration for those who have fallen. And if a student is having difficulty with a spritual aspect of his college, can he go to his pastor for advice? He’s on the payroll! The students are effectively robbed of any spiritual refuge while at PCC. It’s IMMORAL and TOTALLY UNBIBLICAL.

7.) Remove the “Pledge.”
This “did you cheat” question on everything at PCC reveals how they view the students: with suspicion and disrespect. Are we so ignorant as to think that without the pledge we could just go ahead and cheat all we wanted? Or do they think that if a person is willing to cheat he won’t be willing to sign the pledge? It’s simply a semantic burden which ought to be eliminated.

8.) Let the Student Know the Accuser.
This seems simple enough. If a student is turned in for something, he should be told in advance by the person doing it, or at the very least, made aware of who it is later.

9.) No “Scanning Out.”
For the staff to actually pretend this is designed for the student’s protection is laughable. It is, as with most “standards” at PCC, designed to control the students, and subsequently is a complete pain. There are so many times when going off campus something comes up where a student may go some place they did not originally intend. This is called life. Parents understand these things.

10.) Full Internet Access.
Every place a person goes on the internet is logged by the browser, so if someone “surfs” porn, bust him, but there is no reason to eliminate the endless supply of good information that is available. It in effect gives other college’s students an advantage over those at PCC. And another thing – splurge a little and don’t make the students pay for what virtually every other college (with less available funds) makes free to their own students.

So there they are. Would PCC become a liberal cesspool by changing these rules? I think not, but it would certainly be more reasonable. And again, we promise to take no credit!