This is a guest article submitted in the early part of December 1996.
Thus far, I have merely been a spectator in the various discussions that your newsletter has inspired on the policies and various goings-on at PCC. I have now decided to enter the arena, so to speak, and would like to submit some observations concerning the college.
I was a student at PCC for a full four years and graduated in the Spring of 1995. I never rose above the “rank” of APL (although I kept myself out of trouble and had few demerits–I think that I wasn’t out-going enough to be appointed to anything else). I was mostly interested in my studies and did little in collegians or other social activities. I gained a great deal from
my years as a PCC student ( I met my wife to be, I made many close friends, I accrued a great deal of practical knowledge from my classes and I learned to grow spiritually). All of those things were extremely beneficial to me, and I thank God that PCC was there to provide a place where I could get a good education and enjoy a spiritual atmosphere. I say all of that as a preface to my remarks concerning the issues that you have been discussing with the other Voice subscribers. I want it to be clear that I am not possessed with a hate complex toward PCC, nor do I have a bad attitude concerning the Hortons and the other college administrators. I have very little use for those who gripe about the college simply to hear themselves gripe. I much prefer forums where the participants simply express genuine concerns. (I believe that your newsletter is such a forum).
I am certain that my title will be viewed as somewhat cryptic in light of the subjects at hand; after all, what does an old Eastwood movie have to do with PCC? I think that the title is somewhat descriptive of the activities at PCC and will explain it as follows:
THE GOOD: PCC provides a spiritual atmosphere within which to learn and grow as well as extending its ministry to all the world through A Beka Books and touching many lives for
THE BAD: PCC has problems with its policies, attitudes and general outlook on spirituality.
THE UGLY: PCC refuses to acknowledge any internal problems and instead, insists that the only problems that the institution has is with those who point out problems with the institution.
I was glad when I found The Voice in that your newsletter acts as a “city of refuge” for comments concerning the college. Even those who preside over staunch defenses of the college should admit (if they are honest with themselves) that students, staff and faculty do not usually find a warm reception when they present their concerns to the administration. An independent forum concerning PCC has been much needed for some time now. [Although due to past events, we are no longer “independent.” – eds.]
A few choice issues:
1. (The Authority Issue) PCC’s administration advocates the idea that “questioning authority” is the same as defiance of authority. Also, when you come with a question about a policy you are almost automatically dismissed with the “God wills it” answer. That answer worked great during the crusades, and it seems to have a good deal of effect at PCC as well. I remember the one issue of the Voice where the writer stated that he questioned Dr. Goddard concerning the college’s rules for student marriages. Dr. Goddard dismissed the man as being out of God’s will because he
challenged something that “God had layed on Dr. Horton’s heart to put into place.” What kind of answer is that? To assume that challenging a human policy (because it is based on what God “lays” on the heart) constitutes a challenge of God Himself is to say that the human (in this case Dr. Horton) is a flawless interpreter of God’s will. I have great respect for Dr. Horton and what he has done (I’m certain that he is much more spiritual than myself), but I do not quite think that one should be accused of challenging God because he challenges the policies of a man. That “God wills it” answer is much more common than some might think (and a great deal more subjective than they–administration–might ever have stopped to think about). I heard it myself a great deal when I was a college student. I really believe that much of what is policy at PCC is merely the opinion of the Hortons as to how people ought to live based on their own personal preferences. It hardly
suffices as an effective answer to the policy question, though.
2. (Vague Rules) As mentioned in The Voice, one problem with the “No Devotions in the Commons” rule is that it is extremely vague in its boundaries. What constitutes devotions? Vague rule definitions lead to extremely subjective rule enforcement and punishment. A person has little else but his own opinion to go on when he is told that he should not allow students to have devotions in the Commons and is given no real definition of what devotions is (in the Administration’s view). As a recent former student, I know well that students are quite upset with vague rules. How are
they to know when they have violated a rule when there is no real standard for telling them where the boundaries are? I myself ran into this when I once approached by an assistant dean of men concerning PCC’s music policy. I was informed that there really was no uniform policy and that it was primarilly left up to the residence hall managers’ “discretion.” That was a real comfort, I assure you. This area could use much change. If you are going to make rules for the students, Administration, then please tell the students (and not at DC) where the boundaries are.
3. (Image) I believe that this is one of PCC’s greatest failing points. It is not that the college does not promote a good image (or that it is not important to be viewed in a positive light), it is that the “image thing” often comes to dominate everything else in the ministry. Consider the ensemble members as an example of the overexaggeration of image. Ensemble members are required to dress differently than other students and are expected to act differently. The Administration does this in order to set the ensemble members up as ideal students and representatives of PCC. I understand that to a point, but I wonder if the Administration truly knows how the ensemble members are viewed. Perhaps a few words that I have heard students use regarding ensemble members would be in order: “arrogant,” “fake,” “stuck-up,” and “plastic” come to mind immediately. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of ensemble members are quite nice to be around. Other ensemble members begin to think that they are better than the other students. I’ve seen both. The superiority complex that many ensemble members get can cause real problems when they are placed in positions of authority (floorleaders, R.A.’s, etc.) The Administration needs to be aware of this problem. Let me state it this way: “Setting someone up on a pedestal raises them above the rest.” Somewhat obvious, I’m sure. The point of saying that is that many times, the person’s attitude also goes up with him. This becomes evident immediately when the person begins to treat others like they are truly beneath him. This often happens with ensemble members. I know that it is basic human nature; however, as Christians, we are cautioned against elevating people. It is our job to elevate Christ. He is the only one who deserves it (and the only One who can “handle” it).
Other times, the image problem is revealed in the publications. Example: You would never find “mixed” groups allowed in some of the positions and places where they are depicted in PCC publications. Many an “Update” cover illustrates this point beautifully. The problem? It presents a false image. Many a student has come to PCC and found life to be quite different than the publications presented it. If we are to go to such lengths to present an image, shouldn’t it be an accurate image?
In closing, I would like to point out again that I have no hard feelings toward PCC. I would simply like to see the problems that are discussed in this newsletter addressed in such a way as to effect positive change. I have presented a few of the problems and I hope that my words cause some of you out there to think about things a bit differently in the future. Let’s do our best to preserve and expand “the good,” to eliminate “the bad,” and not to be “ugly” about it.