When I first visited ACU, I knew I was home. I had high expectations for this university with its middle name being, “Christian.” I mean, the 55 credits in which little freshman me didn’t know that soon, they would come to feel like forced worship. Alongside most of the professors praying before classes started were the cool new Bible classes I was getting to take.
But when it came time for me to start writing about university happenings, I was shocked at the lack of vulnerability in some areas. I thought coming to a Christian school entailed transparency and honesty, forgiveness and understanding. That has not been the case.
Even subjects that seem irrelevant have questionably been deemed unworthy of public disclosure.
Toward the beginning of the semester, Students’ Association would not publicly reveal the number of votes from the election. Later, Student Life would not disclose the number of pledges per club. Both easily attainable facts, so why the need to be private?
Over the summer, Student Life announced pledging changes stemming from an investigation when some “issues” were brought to attention. Following the announcement, gossip among the student body about Galaxy ending pledging early has been more prevalent than the willingness for Student Life to be open about the issues. Although I safely assume the situation was not as serious as Florida State University’s, I applaud their president for his willingness to openly discuss the problem, and put an end to the issue until a solution is agreed upon.
Being a representation of the body of Christ is not about good PR, trying to appear good by avoiding the discussion of topics that might make the school look “bad.” It’s about coming together in unity and recognizing our faults and failures, our strengths and weaknesses. It’s about finding solutions to the things that need to be discussed, not shoving them under the rug. Why is a non-religiously affiliated public school doing it better than us?
I’m disappointed in the perfectionism that accompanies the desire for good ratings, great headlines and even better admissions. It makes me sick knowing mistakes that can be kept private, are.
Rather than dismissing the hardened hearts of pharisees in Matthew 23, Jesus publicly and directly confronts the issues in the church. It isn’t about fluff, nor is it about pretending the church is a place and people that it isn’t. His correction and vulnerability is about growth and restoration.
I don’t understand how to trust an authority that lacks trust in the student body. I beg the question, how are we supposed to grow in faith through failures if the university won’t do the same.