Alcohol. Christ-centered. Control. Boundaries. Discernment. R-Rated movies. All of these words are easily associated with the Community Life Agreement. Though it seems to be a taboo topic, the CLA has garnered some scrutinizing attention in the last couple of months. It is clear that across campus, the general sentiments are not positive. Though, this repetitive cycle of generational youth wielding their intellectual prowess against the administrative despots is hardly new. The administration and faculty have witnessed the continually endless pushback of students against the boundaries the institution has interwoven in university policy. Generations of students unsatisfied with the amount of autonomy they possess have come and gone. All the university has to do is wait for the students to grow weary in their tirades and graduate. At that point, any progress ceases to burgeon and a new group of students come in with the presupposition that they have the answer.
When you really reflect on this pattern, it can be disheartening to some or exhausting to others depending on what side of the fence you are on. However, the CLA is merely a symptom of a deeper, more spiritual problem. Over my four years here at Huntington, I’ve spent countless hours sharing meals and time with the many professors here at HU. In that time, I’ve learned that the relationship between the students and the administration, that is the hierarchy of deans and executive members that manage the university, has fluctuated. Some seasons were better than others, but at the heart of the issue are two recurring themes: inefficient communication and lack of empathy. The students feel neglected by the authoritarian rule of the administration and the administration wonders how this generation of youth became so deplorable and aggressive. This seems to be the most challenging hurdle to any sort of progress here at HU.
I implore you as students to focus on continuing the conversation. Christ spoke freely to anyone about the realities of this world and we are called to do the same. It is the ordinary and small moments of people choosing to seek solutions that become a forceful multitude. Continue to support student government and don’t complain about your situation unless you are willing to work toward a progressive future. Mature, intellectual minds saturated with thoughtful conversation can be a very incisive tool when advocating for change. Moreover, challenge your own presumptions and constructs. A stagnant mind is worthless. The world is full of ambiguity and lacks a lot of answers, but we aren’t called to answers. We are called to live the questions, because we are called to live everything! Just don’t be silent!
A healthy relationship is contingent upon both parties investing their best. The administration is naturally disconnected from the students for a number of reasons, but simply stated, they aren’t students and they aren’t around students as much as professors or peers. It is our responsibility as students to remind the administration that though we are young and inexperienced, no one should look down on us because we are young. As 1 Timothy 4:12 says, we are called to set an example in conduct, love, purity and much more. Just as students challenge their own perspective, the administration should do the same. The fact of the matter is that we hand over our trust to the administration to handle the management of our education. The only problem is that I and many other students don’t trust them with that power. Conventions are important for continuity, but when those conventions are worshipped above grace, we have violated a commandment to refute idolatry. Do we value reputation above redemption? Do we not trust that God will provide the resources we need for this university to thrive? Do we appease the values of others simply because they provide those resources? Regardless of the answers to those questions, it is important we refocus our attention on the Gospel. The same Gospel that advocated for a woman caught in adultery to receive mercy. The same Gospel that asked Peter if he loved Jesus three times. The same Gospel that is permeated with love, truth and grace.