College Week: Crime and Punishment

No matter how much they would like to, the deans at Fundy U can’t get away with using corporal punishment on the students. In lieu of lashings, however, the administration has devised a litany of fiendishly clever punishments suitable to fit any crime real or imagined.

Demerits

Demerits can be thought of as the currency of sin at Fundy U. Want to skip your room job? Listen to non-approved music? Miss a class?  You’ll pay for each offence out of your store of demerits. Take care, however, hit 150 and you’ll be on a plane back home to mom and dad faster than you can say “arbitrary rule system.”  Demerits are also an easy way for the admin to gauge your spiritual health. They’ll even send a helpful letter to your parents letting them know how you did the semester before.

Socialing

Being “socialed” is a punishment reserved for those who have committed a crime of passion such as talking to a girl in the Library, shaking a boy’s hand, or using the wrong elevator.  While enduring this punishment, you will not be able to speak to, write to, sit next to, or breath the same air as a member of the opposite sex. If you should be so unfortunate to be socialed, you’ll soon learn who your real friends are — they’re the ones who will leave their own significant others to come keep you company at dinner so you don’t have to eat alone.

Campusing

There is an odd sort of cognitive dissonance to this particular punishment. Having spent thousands of dollars in advertising to convince students that their campus is the happiest place on earth, the administration then decides that the worst punishment they can imagine short of expulsion is to confine students to that selfsame little slice of heaven. In addition to not being able to leave, no campused student may talk to or room with any other campused student. This gives the powers-that-be the ability break up groups of friends that they believe are a bad element.

Shadowing

When a Fundy U student has sinned unto death and is having their fate decided by the deans office they spent their time as the shadow of a floor leader.  This means that they will follow everywhere and have no communication with anybody except for the deans office and their current guardian. Being shadowed at Fundy U is the kiss of death. In a very real sense the shadowed student is dead to his classmates.  They cannot speak to him, look at him, or even acknowledge his presence.  Even attempting to say “goodbye” can result in the expulsion of any student who commits this defiant act.

Call Slips

One of the most terrifying moments at Fundy U is the moment after opening your mailbox when you spot that green square of paper that requests your presence in the Dean’s office. This almost never ends well because the deans are masters of…

Interrogations

If you’ve ever been repeatedly pulled out of bed after midnight and given hours of interrogation in the freezing cold by a power hungry Fundy U Residence Manager in an attempt to make you confess,  please  know that you are not alone. The tactics used in attempt to get students to make  a confession or turn in their friends would make any intelligence service proud. Fundy U deans will divide and conquer, attempt to use guilt and coercion, promise to cut deals, and (if all else fails) outright lie in order to extract the answers they want from a student. You don’t get a judge and jury. You certainly don’t get a last cigarette.

Somehow this regiment of shame and terror in enforcing the ever-changing and often unwritten body of rules never makes it into the glossy brochures or the sales pitches from traveling singing groups. At Fundy U you are always guilty until proven innocent and suspected of evil just by virtue being alive. caveat emptor.

144 thoughts on “College Week: Crime and Punishment”

  1. @Josh
    I was about to ask the same thing! Especially since Bartok was an atheist as well. And what about Bernstein and Aaron Copland? They were both toooootally gay, so I can only imagine the reason that they pass inspection is that those doing the checking simply don’t know enough about them.

  2. @Jordan

    Yeah, the double standards, quite blatant they are, hmmm… Copland was also a socialist. We can also dig back further into history: Tchaikovsky was gay, and Mozart was quite the player!

  3. I was a music minor at BJ, and I can verify that we were required to listen to modern “classical” composers, even going so far as John Gage. And not just the 17 Minutes of Silence, either! :-) All of that checked, as far as I know. However, we also knew that there was music like the Beatles and Elvis out there that we were not allowed to listen to. At least, not until grad classes. Then you could listen to it with the teacher’s permission. Similarly, the library had “restricted” books kept behind the counter on the second floor, but you could request them if you were in certain classes.

    The wildest thing I ever did at BJ, which would have caused heart attacks in the DOW office if they only knew, came when I was student teaching. My fifth grade class was going on an overnight camping trip, and I had to go with them. (Not that I was complaining.) Just getting the permission for this from DOW was quite a chore, plus I had to convince them to allow me to wear jeans because we would be doing trust building exercises like wall climbing and falling backwards off of platforms into a waiting crowd. The DOW reluctantly agreed that I could switch into jeans after I got out of town. Once I was on the retreat, I found that the camp had scheduled a dance–yes, a real dance–for that evening, with all the students and teachers attending. It was only square dancing and polkas, but the music certainly would not check. Plus, some of the camp employees were guys from other colleges. Y’know, like *gasp!* Furman!!!! Before the evening was over, I was wearing jeans, holding hands with a guy from Furman, while I danced to secular music. The demerit count would have been impressive if anybody had ever found out.

  4. @gravetolive–I know all about those Furman “reprobates.” I had four cousins graduate from there. Two are middle school teachers in the SC public schools, one is an engineer, and one is a professor at Clemson. All but one (ironically, the Clemson professor who went to seminary after Furman) are active in their Southern Baptist churches. Two served in the military. All their children are voluntarily active in their churches and community events. These are the people Dr. Bob warned you about. The college shipwrecks.

  5. College shipwrecks indeed. When I was App State, the Baptist Student Union, Lutheran Student Association, Wesley Fellowship, and Westminster Student Group did community service projects and went on mission trips over spring break. Let’s see – helping people who really need help OR sitting in “Bible Conference?” Mmm.

  6. I had a total of 8 demerits during my 4 years. I deserved many more. I got 5 at one shot my senior year and should’ve gotten more. Do you know what I did? I went to church on a Sunday afternoon by myself. I didn’t have anyone to go with me to choir practice so I went alone and didn’t check out. When I got back, I said that I was checking in and didn’t check out. I got 5 D’s for that. I could go to Wal-Mart alone but not church. Go figure!

  7. I don’t know if anyone else had much experienced w/ the shadowing process. I considered myself blessed to have had friends that disprespected the rules re: shadowing whenever someone we knew got shadowed. We’d stake out various spots we knew we’d see them at (their mail box — would just open any mail box near whoevers & briefly talk about what was going on, and what we were up to; would spot in the corridor of the AC and both head to the bathroom for updates; I think at least once someone just went into the Floor Leader room to get the latest. Had heard other people often pass notes or sneak phone calls. We were pretty blatant in disregarding the ban on communication. I don’t know how we never got in trouble for that.

  8. I forgot to add that I remember sitting in a PCC recruiting chapel at my little hole in the wall fundy school and I remember the guy saying that Harvard and Yale aren’t accredited either, it’s one of the only things I remember him saying, every year that he came.

  9. I had no idea fundy schools were like this. If I ever hear any candidate talk positively about their time in such a school, I’ll know they don’t have much experience with democracy and civil rights.

    1. To be fair, any time a college hires or otherwise sends out people to promote them to others, they’re only going to put a positive spin on it. That’s true of secular and religious schools alike.

      However, in the case of outright LIES being told to promote a college based on a faith that abhors lying…

  10. My worst semester, I racked up 28 demerits. But I earned five for being late to work, which I knew I hadn’t been. I’ve always been compulsive about being on time, and I would have remembered being late at all. So I went to DC, got the dispute slip to have my supervisor fill out, and took it back to her. She was upset that I was challenging the demerits and spent about 20 minutes going through my time cards with a fine-tooth comb, trying desperately to prove that I’d been late. She finally signed it with much griping and denial that she’d done anything wrong. The next week, I got 10 demerits for missing a work meeting–again, I knew I hadn’t missed anything. But it wasn’t worth it to fight, and I just took the D’s.

  11. @grace2live I thought it was ALWAYS worth disputing w/ rules enforcers if for nothing else just to make the “good work” they were doing handing out the D’s as emotionally draining on them as it was on the students! HAHAHAHA!

  12. Reading these comments has made me slightly nostalgic for the days of out-witting the powers-that-be at BJU. I always felt like the Road Runner humilating Wil-E-Coyote.

  13. Great stuff. I got at least one of each. (many many demerits) I got socialed once with my girl friend, and almost got sent home for talking to my sister during my time in public exile. It was great. At least I had fun with it. :)
    I had at least 15 friends that were shadowed and I made a point to talk to every one of them before they went home. (stupid floor leaders) I was threatened at least 4 or 5 times to stop talking to them because they were under “disciplinary action.” I simply told the lovely “God-fearing” FL that I didn’t give a rip and that I would talk to them if I wanted too. (Some of it was a bit of rebellion but I just could not stand the fact that they were treated like leperous filth. FL jerks)
    Any way just before I left PCC (I was withdrawing, not being dismissed) I was of course “being shadowed.” The poor FL that was shadowing me just could not keep up. He kept telling me that I needed to stay with him… Yeah right. I went where ever I wanted and the poor sap was almost running after me to make sure he “did his duty” to shadow me. (good thing for him it was only for about 12 hours.) wow that was fun. If I remember right, I made him sleep on the floor of my room, in stead of the other way around. I always felt it ironic that the one shadowing was not acting like an actual shadow… except mine of course. :) fun days.

  14. I got a total of 11 demerits my entire four years at BJU as an undergrad. I was in DC once. And still, after 17 years of “service” (aka servitude) they worked really hard at humiliating me to the unemployment line. They didn’t like a breastfeeding book linked on my blog. They didn’t like that I said I was tired while teaching summer school. They didn’t like that I joked about the “square fish” in the Dining Common. They didn’t like how we were raising our 3yo and <1yo sons. And on and on and on.

    It is good to know that we're not alone in this recovery. And that no matter how well we tow the line or how much sadistic joy we get from taunting the demerit-pad-holders, we still have to shake the dust. . . . It really helps, I think.

  15. At first, I raged because of all the time I wasted trying to please the “spiritual” ones. I never could understand how I could follow every rule, never get in trouble, and still not be trusted to be a room leader! Then I realized what an inadvertent compliment they had paid me: they recognized a free spirit in me even then. Even before I gained the confidence to laugh at their petty power. And I do laugh. I mean, can you see the humor in needing to make a rule against girls wearing “thongs”? (PCC rulebook, 1998). Who’s going to check that?! Lol

  16. At my (hastily mumbled) FU I carefully cultivated an external aura of being somewhat of a goody-two-shoes. I never ratted on anyone or anything, I just went to class, dressed inside the rules and kept a low profile.
    Most of my closest friends knew the truth though. They knew that I was liable to stay out all night (a big no-no), leave the area without permission, take unauthorized go-home weekends, go on unchaperoned dates off campus and play innumerable pranks on the administration and their minions.
    My wife still shakes her head and says that she cannot believe that the worst thing I ever got demerits for was dorm duties.

    That said, I had a couple of cool dorm supervisors. One had the unwritten rule of “I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t get caught, don’t get me in trouble and don’t get the police called.”

  17. Any old PCCers remember the penny locking of 1991/92? The guy that did that made the mistake of telling someone that he thought was a friend a couple years later and low and behold they turned him in and he almost got expelled. The only reason that he didn’t was because his dad was a part of the faculty. But he got campused, got a bunch of demerits, lost his office as a student body officer. I think that’s all. There are a few things about the whole thing that piss me off. The Gestapo B. S. that was pulled, but also the political B. S. that made it so he was not expelled. I’m not saying that I wanted to see my friend get booted, but politics just flat out sucks.

  18. Every Sunday after Mass at BJU I came back to my dorm and noticed that things in my undies drawer were not quite as I had left them. This was way back in the 80’s when we girls had to still wear hat’s to Sunday Mass.

    Anyway, I became more and more annoyed, thinking it was my Monitor (hall leader) going through drawers after we left the dorm each Sunday morning. I decided to set a trap to see if I could catch the culprit. I tied two black pieces of thread in a way that when the pantie drawer snooper opened the drawer the threads would break the next Sunday. Leaving the dorm my monitor walked out in front of me and even sat a few row in front of me in Mass. I was disappointed, planning to get her another time. When I returned to my room, low and behold, one black thread was lying on the floor the other black thread was missing. I stormed down to my dorm supervisor’s apartment, thinking the culprit was a roommate since the Monitor could not have been the culprit that Sunday. When I walked into my dorm supervisors apartment, there as plain as day on her white sweater was a black thread. This woman was maybe 300 pounds and very “well endowed” up top.

    I found out who was snooping in my pantie drawer. It was my dorm supervisor. Still creeps me out to this day, she had done this maybe a month before I decided to set up my little trap. If she was looking for contraband, she had never found it yet, why keep going back? ::shivers::

  19. @ Kitty. that’s so funny. I had a friend that was a criminal justice major. She set a trap by dusting her drawer with fingerprint powder so the culprit would get ink stain on her hands. :-)

    @timmyboy we were at PCC then, tell me more about the Penny Locking incident.

  20. You know, this is all so interesting. The only thing I did wrong at BJU was sit on the dating parlor couch (15 feet from my future husband) and I didn’t have my “feet planted firmly on the ground.” Yep! That was my BIG error. LOL.

    But my brother Jeremy, he was an RA at Northland Baptist Bible College and he was taking his girlfriend to a hotel and stuff on the weekends and having make-out sessions and he went and confessed to Marty Von and he “excused him for coming to him about it.” He remained an RA and no one knew a thing. I later joked that, “he knew who to go confess to.”

    And then compare that to my girl friend at Northland who willingly confessed to drinking a little alcohol at a wedding over Christmas break and being booted the next semester for it.

    The hypocrisy. The twisting. The playing with your head junk.

    As Camille said…dust the sand from our feet….and just heal.

  21. I wasn’t @ PCC in 91/92, but I did penny lock a floor leader in his bathroom, did the nickel taped to the sink faucet, re-routed the toilet thing to spray water out on the ground instead of the tank. FL’s who enjoyed writing room job demerits always seemed to having all kinds of accidents happen in their rooms when I was on the hall! :) I think my fave was the floor leader who confiscated my super soaker because someone else had been using it for something “inappropriate”. I don’t recall what it was they had done it exactly, but somehow giving that person demerits wasn’t enough, my supersoaker had to get confiscated for the semester as well. Totally dumped a gallon of water on his carpet. None of it may have been right, but I don’t regret having done any of it! :)

  22. @escapee
    It happened the semester before I was there. But the story goes that they planned it for 2 months, saving pennys and figuring out each door and the # of pennys it would take to lock it. (I think it was Coberly, can’t remember) Anyway, they got an alan wrench that fit the door lock and after about 1:30 am they got to work. They finished all the rooms and were almost done with the top floor, when the heard security coming so off they ran. 2 of the 3 got away but the last guy was a little slower and got caught on the floor. He faked that he was sick and looking for the FL, so the security guard let him go and continued to walk his beat. So all 3 of them got off scott free, that is until mr. big mouth turned him in. He took the heat for the whole thing, so that noone else would get busted.
    Anyway, that’s the story, ring a bell? Speaking of ringing bells… Do you remember the batman signal on the bell tower? I helped with that one. I also helped with the 1st soaping of the athletic center fountain, the one were the suds went all the way across both directions of traffic and into the soccer field. Good times.

  23. @exIFB: BJU does not actually have mass. That’s just what some of the students call it to make fun of it. Probably because of the organ playing classical music, the choir with choir robes, and the somber attitude the administration tries to cultivate.

  24. @TimmyBoy I always wondered who the ones that were creative enough to come up w/ soaping the fountains! You’ve been a hero in my eyes for like 15 years now! :)

  25. It still blows my mind that anyone would be saying that Harvard wasn’t accredited. I mean it is one thing if you said they weren’t always accredited or that they wouldn’t need accreditation, but Havard has been accredited since 1929. For any school to still, 40-50 years later, be saying that it isn’t is beyond belief. Laziness does not absolve you of that lie. Even back then it wouldn’t have taken much to figure out that Harvard was accredited. By the way Yale’s accreditation was the same year. So blatant lying. There is no other way to describe that.

  26. @timmyboy I do remember the bat signal. that was great. I remember several incidents of suds in the fountain, the first was the best though. we were all so appalled that someone would pull that! Guys got away with so much more than girls. You never heard of a legendary girl prank. I loved pulling pranks too, just on my roommates though. One of my best ones was to put a tennis ball in the foot of pantyhose and open the window and use it to knock on the window next to us, above us and below us. it freaked them out trying to figure out who was knocking on their window 7 stories up.

    Do you remember the wave getting started in the balcony before Vespers one day? New rule was made soon after. haha.

    1. Thankfully I never went to a Christian College or Christian University. But I remember some of the pranks, especially the toilet humor. Like sneaking onto the female toilets and sitting a male manikin on the toilet bowl, dressed in a coat and cap, trousers round the ankles…. Or putting Vaseline on the toilet seat…

  27. After reading all of the horror stories, I want to go to some of these colleges just to break their rules! My previous church was all about encouraging the teens to go to one of these “good Christian schools.” I have to admit that I am tempted to visit that church when they have college recruitment groups in town. I would love to throw several good questions at them.

  28. @escapee
    I do remember the wave. I also remember the chapel where they told us that we could no lo ger use the word suck. I swear I heard every person around me say, ” that sucks! “

  29. @robm
    I was not alone. It took a coordinate effort to pull some of these things off. Having friends on security was a big plus.

  30. gkend wrote:
    “After reading all of the horror stories, I want to go to some of these colleges just to break their rules! My previous church was all about encouraging the teens to go to one of these “good Christian schools.” I have to admit that I am tempted to visit that church when they have college recruitment groups in town. I would love to throw several good questions at them.”

    Be sure to ask the really good questions when there are a bunch of potential suckers….I mean students….within close earshot.

  31. @TimmyBoy the others are my heroes as well, I just don’t have anyway of thanking them! :) Pure brilliance. I remember when I heard about it first week of my freshman year (93) thinking “why would anyone want to do that to such a wonderful institution and beautiful campus. And then the next 4 years happened.

  32. I know this is old, but I just came across it. I have so many stories about so many things we did at mbbc. I don’t even know where to start.
    Lets just say my freshman yearbook picture I was wearing blue plaid shirt, and a red white and blue tie(unmatching on purpose) in order to rebel against the establishment. We also would sneak out people off campus who had been campused and went out to have a good time. Then there was the time we had a hazing on freshmen (when I was a freshman) that included putting people naked on cedarholms grave (the founder of the school) It will take more time to tell that story. I never got kicked out or close to it. You just had to know who your friends were and who not to say anything to. I transferred my junior year to a university.

  33. @RobM, I agree that there was some pretty crazy stuff that went on/ goes on at funny colleges but people can still choose to go there or NOT. You are at least aware of the rules before you go even if you don’t know all the specifics. It sounds to me like you should have rethought your decision to be there.

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