Act IV: The End of Days

Perhaps one of the best ways to understand the rule enforcement system at Pensacola Christian College is to think back to the Stanford prison experiment of 1971 where students were arbitrarily assigned the roles of “guard” or “prisoner” and then left in a simulated prison scenario. The guards took to their role with relish enforcing rules and inflicting psychological torture on the prisoners, who for their part passively accepted this behavior as if they deserved it.

If you simply replace the word “guard” with “floor leader” and likewise exchange “prisoner” with “student” the results you find at PCC are not identical but some aspects are strikingly similar. Put into certain situations, even people who might otherwise be decent human beings can act with surprising disregard for the well being of others. Power corrupts — especially when an authority figure believes that their abuse of power is actually being done for the good of the abused.

My Senior year I was a “Prayer Leader” in my Coberly dorm room. Allegedly this meant that I was responsible for the spiritual well-being of the 11 other students that made up my prayer group, which met four evenings a week. In other circumstances looking out for somebody’s well being might be checking on the freshmen to make sure they were adjusting well or trying to iron our personal conflicts. At PCC, however, soul care is something more akin to “rat out your roommates if they break the rules.” Due to some of the things I have already written about this week, I was in no mood to be the eyes and ear of the administration in my room and mostly took a “see no evil” approach to whatever shenanigans might be going on in my hall as long as nobody was getting hurt. (I did report a guy for reading the Book of Mormon aloud but that’s a really long story.)

Back in my freshman year my friend Dave had told me that the most important five minutes in your semester is the first time your floor leaders do room check at night. A power hungry, anal retentive floor leader can ruin an entire year at school. Unfortunately, for my last year I had two true believers named Adam and Andy as floor leaders. Both were ensemble members and both held the rule book to hold as much authority as if it had been handed down from Mt. Sinai. I should have known better than to cross them. I should have left it alone. But the last semester of my PCC career I made the nearly fatal mistake of questioning Adam’s authority over a hot pot left on a bathroom sink.

“You can’t have a hotpot in here.” he proclaimed, knowing full well that although that rule was on the books that every guy in every dorm room made Ramen noodles in the bathroom on occasion.

“C’mon, Adam,” I replied, “You know that rule isn’t really enforced.”

“I enforce ALL the rules.” he said stiffly. “They’re all in the book for a reason.”

So of course I proceeded to invoke one of the oldest and most unenforced rules in the college by asking him why we weren’t required to put a 3×5 card on our door each week proclaiming that we had changed our sheets. (Urban legend says that this rule was started back in the early days of the school and directed at one particularly unhygienic student and had almost never been enforced in the last decade). Adam left the room and returned in a few minutes to inform us that our hallway was now the ONLY one on campus that would be following that rule to the letter. The other people on my hallway were less than happy.

I thought the stand-off between myself and the floor leaders might end there. I was very wrong.

It was only a few weeks later that our floor leaders came into our room after lights out (11:00) and took each of my roommates out into the hallway one at a time to be questioned about “contraband” they might have such as video games rated T for Teen, cell phones, and music that didn’t check such as my own Phantom of the Opera CD. Under the scrutiny my freshman roommates confessed that they did indeed have squirreled away some “illegal” items. The floor leaders confiscated them and then lectured me about my responsibilities as a PL. I had failed to report which meant I was guilty too.

The next night around midnight I was rousted out of bed again and this time told that I needed to go see our residence manager, Jordan. I complained that I needed to be up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work but I was told that this was too important to wait. So down we went to the freezing cold of the RM’s office where I sat in a low chair like something out of a bad cop film and was again interrogated about my knowledge of my roommates misdeeds. I quoted Proverbs 26:17 in my defense and told them that what my roommates did was none of my business, that it was between themselves and God. Catch them if you can. Don’t expect me to help.

The residence manager and floorleaders were not amused. They were even less amused when suggested that if they thought I was a bad Prayer Leader to simply remove my title and put me in a different room. That would have taken me off my current hall and out of Adam and Andy’s reach so none of them liked that suggestion much either. After a few more minutes of lecturing me, Jordan finally told me to go back to my room.

I walked back through the hallway with adrenaline singing in my ears. I knew how encounters like this could escalate, even with no evidence of wrongdoing just on one person’s say-so. Once you were marked as a “bad egg” it was only a matter of time before they found some way to expel you instead of letting you graduate. The next day I gathered up every conceivable thing that I owned that might be construed as breaking even an imaginary rule and move it to an off-campus location. It was the smart move. A week later I got another sleep-depriving middle-of-the-night call down to the RM’s office and this time they were loaded for bear.

“We have a witness,” said Jordan in his most melodramatic tones, “who tells us that you have contraband in your room.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Who is this person?”

“We can’t tell you that,” he spluttered, “but they’re somebody who is in a position to know.”

I shrugged. “If you can’t tell me who the person is then I can’t possibly hope to explain what they might think I have. But I’ll tell you what,if it helps you can go search my room. I’ll show you everything I own.”

Jordan’s eyes narrowed. I could tell he didn’t like it that I didn’t seem rattled. The whole point of this exercise was to get me feeling guilty so I’d start confessing.

“The person who turned you in also said that you’ve moved your stuff out of the room,” he said.

I had to smile. The entire scenario was so ludicrous. Me in my pajamas in the middle of the night being sweated out under the bright lights by a man who was only a year or two older than I was. And all of this over my potential ownership of something as inane as a Billy Joel CD or a video game. I could even have been expelled outright for owning a movie rated G.

Then suddenly I thought about the four years of my life I had given to the college. Two summers of 4 a.m. shifts in the warehouse, the heat of weeks of camp as a counselor, and months spent working lonely nights in the IT department away from my friends. And that was not even to mention hundreds of hours of classes, and thousands of dollars earned with my blood and sweat. All that might be lost because a few petty people had let power go to their heads. Suddenly I wasn’t smiling anymore.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I repeated over and over. “I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

Finally, reluctantly, they let me stumble back to bed in the wee hours of the morning. I lay awake in the darkness willing myself to go to sleep, knowing that I would be up for work in a few short hours but when I finally managed to calm down enough to drift off, the nightmares started. In my dreams I could hear them at the door. They were coming back to get me again. This time they were taking me to the deans office to be shadowed then expelled. Four wasted years. Public shame. My life would be over.

That dream was my constant companion through the restless nights in the months that followed. Fear was my constant companion both awake and asleep. For some reason they never came back. Perhaps they never intended to do anything beyond terrorizing me a little, some misguided attempt to “scare me straight.” Maybe they just knew they couldn’t trump up enough proof to really go through with their threats. I’ll probably never know. What I do know is that through the whole incident I never received a demerit. I never was removed as PL or officially reprimanded in any way.

By the time graduation day dawned I felt numb inside. I had ironically been invited to speak a brief promotional message about my time at PCC during the convocation. I turned it down. I stood in line in my cap and gown fighting the subconscious thought that someone from the Dean’s office might be coming through the door at any minute to pull me out of line. To tell me that they had made a mistake in letting me graduate.

I walked across the stage mechanically. Took my diploma. Sat in my seat. I should have been excited and joyful, I should have been ready to dance an sing about the accomplishment of graduating from college and starting the rest of my life. Instead I just felt tired and empty. It took a long, long time before I felt anything else.

It was only in the last few years that I began to wonder what had happened to my tormentors from those last terrible weeks of school. And so I went to look. I was chagrined to learn that Jordan the Residence Manager is now a youth pastor at a fundamentalist church in Texas. But the real shocker was when I learned that Adam the floor leader is now the admissions director at the very college we attended. Verily, he has his reward.

Mine is not the only story like this. I would not be surprised if this very week some other recent graduate sits at home knowing that they should be happy but only feeling the exhaustion of being a prisoner in the four year Standford experiment at Pensacola Christian College. If you are that student then I want you to know that you are not alone. Come sit and tell us your story too. We have been there. We understand.

311 thoughts on “Act IV: The End of Days”

  1. A fair amount of how PCC life is described reminds me of my time doing basic military training.

    In the militarily, this kind of authoritative environment serves a purpose. It is designed to essentially make the cadet reliant on the military institution and to learn set aside their own ego when called to do so, with the explicit goal of reducing the turn-around time with respect to carry out orders.

    I can see the value in this kind of mentality within the military environment.

    I cannot, however, see much (if any) value in adopting this kind of environment in a school, let alone a christian one. I can only speculate that the authority figures found it necessary to try and turn their students into a kind of civilian equivalent of the obedient rank and file*.

    * noting of course that the military generally allow for the service personnel, once through their initial training, to begin to exercise a level of discrimination over what orders they carry out

    1. I think that some (many?) IFB pastors had military experience, especially in the 60s and 70s and treated their church members as if they were in the military (“after all, the Bible does say that we are to be soldiers for Christ”). They then taught the current generation to do so as well.

      1. Our lead pastor (United Methodist), is a retired military chaplin. He is so kind and loving. The other good thing is that he keeps the service to 1 hour, that includes 2 choir anthems, 3 hymns, a creed and the sermon.

        1. I, too had a pastor who was a former military chaplain, and before that, a Navy fighter pilot in World War II.
          He was not at all doctrinaire or dictatorial, and had a relaxed attitude about rules.
          So I’m not sure the military can take the blame for this one.

        2. I would tend to agree that the ex-military types tend NOT to be the people who would use that style of organisation in a church/ college environment.

          Service persons, especially the officer corps are also told why such a style is used in the military. I would expect such people to understand it’s inefficacy in the non-military environment.

      2. @GR, I think it’s much more likely that the IFB pastors had extreme military envy – poosibly to the point of faking a military background. As others have noted, my experience with veterans is that they are less likely to insist on graceless, control-freaky structures than nonveterans.

        1. That’s very possible; they may have been low-level grunts, pushed around by everyone above them… and now that they are a “Mannagawd”, they revel in doing the same.

          I’ve seen a few pastors who seemed to think/wish that their church could be more like boot camp.

        2. With respect to faking a military background and habing military envy, in Bill Gothard’s ATI, there is an organization called ALERT, which is essentially a paramilitary team of guys that go out and go Bill Gothard’s bidding (e.g., “relief work” in foreign countries that he is trying to break into). Anyway, many ATI fathers who have no military background whatsoever have joined the ALERT program and received a military “rank.” Several of them demand that they be called by their fake rank rather than by their real name. Thus, Mr. Furhman (former director of ATI’s Big Sandy campus) was Colonel Furhman; Mr. McWha (former director of ATI’s Indianapolis traning center) was Captain McWha; etc. I once stayed at the Big Sandy Campus for a week to attend a seminar and was told that if I did not address everyone there as “Sir” that I would be “dropped” and made to do push-ups as a punishment.

        3. I’ve known a few young men who’ve gone through the ALERT program. In almost every case, they were…like automatons when they returned–completely assimilated. Always makes me sad to think about.

        4. People have pointed out similarities among Scientology, IBLP, and whatever name Pearl decided to give to his sadistic fantasies elsewhere in this thread. Scientology was founded by a man who was an inept and useless military officer. He faked a brilliant biography for himself and taught his followers to believe every word. My, that sounds familiar.

    2. Besides the basic question you addressed (purpose), there’s another big difference between BT and the experience described here: oversight. While the basic trainee’s experience may look something like the horrid stories we’ve heard here, because the treament received is deliberate and part of the training, the entire command is involved in the process. There are abusive and power-hungry drill sergeants, as there are in every human institution where some wield power, but there’s a concerted effort to weed out the bad apples – they make bad soldiers out of recruits. My own experience with Drill Sergeants was that these were men who were performing a duty, but their real interest was in our progress, not in extracting pain and suffering from us while we were in their grip. I found out later that while the job ewas coveted as a good career move, the average DS spent the minimum (3 years) time at that duty station, and they looked forward to our graduation and departure almost as much as we did. While the military is indeed filled with idiocies and inexplicable happenings, it’s hard to see how the kind of shenanigans we see here would ever happen. Personal vendettas are watched out for and stopped. I should know – as a combat arms trainee who developed pneumonia during BT, I was under scrutiny. It felt like every one was out to get me, but that was illness and weariness talking.

  2. Darrell, how have far more fortitude than I do! I would have told them where to stuff it and offered to help doing so!

    Jordan and Adam got what they wanted- petty little lives where they can be mean to others with impunity. Like you said, they have their reward. You, on the other hand, have been set free! Rejoice!

    1. I ended up getting out of a similar situation because of my vehement rage. I was told later by another student in the office that I looked like the harbinger of death. I think I actually scared the dean I was speaking to.

      Thats PCC for you…brings out the best in people.

    2. I agree 100% about “petty little lives.” My sister played the West Coast game for 4 years and worked her way up to RA status. She is now the assistant to the Dean of Women and relishes such tasks as “checking” girls’ hem and sleeve lengths and “chaperoning” groups of students on outings (which always seem to result in a free dinner at a restaurant for her . . . imagine that!). While she was an RA, she told us that she used to check the girls’ underwear drawers for “worldly panties” while the students were in chapel so that she would “know who was a whore.”

        1. LOL, I just said the same thing in one of my other comments. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

        2. Actually she does. And the creepy little giggle and lilting speech as well.

      1. I used to check girls’ panties, too, but it wasn’t because I was enforcing school rules. 😈

      2. I know some fundy girls who were dismayed that their roommates wore as you called them, “wordly panties.” Obsessing over the externals isn’t enough, so now they need to worry about clothes that aren’t even seen in public? 😯

        1. What exactly are “worldly panties”? I could see that it might be a bit disconcerting to see your roomie has crotchless or edible undies, but … why would one be checking one’s roomie’s underwear drawer in the first place? And if we’re not talking about crotchless or edible undies, WHAT could possibly be “wrong” with someone else’s undies?

          On a side note, I had a college roommate who was essentially a nudist in the room. She never wore clothes, not even underwear. I guess she was comfier that way. I have no idea whether her panties were “worldy” or not. I never saw them. πŸ˜‰

        2. Oh, it probably wasn’t anything that interesting. “Worldly” panties probably just had lace on them, or were some color other than white, or sported a non-fundy-approved cartoon character, or didn’t come up above the waist.

        3. And Jesus sayeth unto them “Take no thought for your raiment but for your underraiment thou shalt wear white, cotton, full cut Haines. Both male and female shall wear them even the fullness thereof that your nakedness be not discovered yea verily even by your outer raiment. And of the Fruit of the Loom shalt thou not partake for verily in the day you partake of it, evil shall come upon you and all your house and your daughters shall become as the harlots of Babylon.”

        4. I assume “worldly panties” meant Victoria’s Secret. :mrgreen:

          And Deacon’s Son — of course it’s God’s will that everyone wear Hanes. Do you want to fund my retirement account, or don’t you? πŸ˜†

      3. Hope someone hid a mousetrap in their drawers and a note about hope you enjoy what you see, knowing no one is going to see you wearing anything like this.

      4. I really hope that one day it dawns on her maybe, just maybe, if she feels the need to go rummaging through other girls’ underwear drawers, the problem is with her and not everyone else. Maybe it will be the first step out of fundyism.

  3. I went to a filthy state school & was a Resident Asst. from my Sophomore
    Year on. We had real problems to deal with -alcohol poisoning, OD’s, sexual assaults.
    In all those incidents I never once “rousted” anyone out of bed for questioning or to intimidate even though there were times I would have loved to punch some people for how they treated their friends in need. However as a Christian in this environment I showed more concern & care for the students on my floor than these 2 guys in your story ever did for theirs. My floor knew I was a Christian & many the time I would have girls in my room after an incident talking & crying & one of them would ask me to pray. This is the stuff that should have been happening at a Christian college but when the rules are the King you can’t expect Gods grace to get in the way. I am so very glad every day that I went against a lot of people & never even applied to one of these schools. How sad this is your memory of such an accomplishment!

    1. I went to a filthy state school that had its share of drunken destructive teenage twerps, but the average age of the student body was well over 21. I am trying to imagine the reaction of a 24-year-old at U.A. Fairbanks to being told that she would receive demerits. Or being rousted out of bed in the middle of the night because somebody had seen him walking with the wrong type of girl.

      Heck, we had our own police force, and when the students organized to protest some poor budget decisions, the campus cops led the march!

        1. ’92-’93 IIRC. It was my sophomore year–my freshman year was at a badly run private college I was glad to leave behind. I loved UAF, but I didn’t finish because I couldn’t find a degree I wanted badly enough to go into that much debt. It turns out that I want to be a folklorist when I grow up. But if I ever get a degree beyond my two associates’ degrees, it’ll have to be after the kids are grown.

        2. My brother started around that time, but I’m not sure if he taught and freshman or sophomore classes. He’s in the English/Languages/Linguistics division.

  4. My stomach was in knots reading this. I had too many similar encounters at BJU, and I was considered a “good girl.” The place makes me sick to my stomach now.

    1. It’s my experience that the well-behaved students are often easier “marks” for authority figures than the rebels because they know they can play on your guilt and your general tendency towards people-pleasing.

      I never got more than 35 demerits in one semester.

      1. That is so true!! I have never been at a crazy fundy college, but I’m in the crazy corporate world, and yes, there are some similarities. (I’ve never experienced anything like the horror you went through at PCC, but…well, let’s just say there are similarities.)

        In a toxic corporate environment, it is ALWAYS the most conscientious, hard-working, serious employees who get targeted by the abusive control freaks. Always, always, always. The employees who clearly do not give a rat’s patootie get away with bloody murder.

        The more conscientious you are, the more you are made to feel that NOTHING you do is ever good enough. You could open your veins for the joint…it wouldn’t be enough. Less conscientious colleagues can throw stuff together sloppily, and that’s OK, but if you let one teeny typo get through, you get dinged on your performance review, and you never hear the end of it.

        There is a huge double standard.

        But again…I don’t mean to suggest that the atmosphere is as poisonous or the punishments as draconian as the stuff you describe, Darrell. Your experiences…wow, what can I say? I cannot imagine!!

        1. My poor husband is in a job like that right now. He has more integrity and gentleness than anyone I know, and he is -almost daily- sacrificed by his manager to higher ups. No one in his office is immune to it, but he gets some of the worst of it, while still being a relatively new hire. (Less than 12 months) It’s a toxic environment.

          Anyway – This really made me mad. I want to walk down to their office and tell these people what for. I’m afraid it won’t do much good, though. I’ve been reading several cult survivor stories that almost always involve men intoxicated with power, and they almost never change. πŸ˜₯

        2. You just described working for my last principal. He used budget cuts as an excuse to get rid of many of the committed hard working teachers, managed to intimidate a few others out, and kept the coaches who were his buddies–some of whom rarely even bothered to stay in their classrooms with their students for an entire class period.

        3. Gate-Crasher, I would suggest that in fundy schools, as in corporate America, the differentiating factor is generally physical appearance and attractiveness.

        4. It is not only in Fundyland that this happens. I worked in one of these environments at a church, where I was the children and youth ministry director. I didn’t relize I was in one of theses environments until I was forced to resign 6 months ago today.

          When I started working there, we had 180 in worship – there were down to 90 on a good Sunday. People would come for children/youth stuff – but not church stuff. Looking back I know I was being used. Hell, they moved the “meeting” until after the youth ran the carry out for the turkey supper. At our knew church, the pastor gave a sermon about perfectionism, and I realized I spent the last 7 years trying to be perfect, so I wouldn’t get chewed out about something.

          It was very sad to work in that kind if environment.

      2. Yes! Nothing pleases a wolf so much as a well-behaved lamb. They take it far better than a rebellious goat. There’s a reason that the New Testament is full of warnings about bad leaders.

      3. In one of Jean Genet’s prison memoirs, he says that sadistic guards and prisoners always choose the targets that resist least– the good prisoner, the kind guard– to attack. It’s easier that way.

        1. Somehow we think there’s supposed to be some code of honor, that if you’re kind, people would respect that, but it’s a jungle out there: predators go for the weak.

          It’s a pity that fundy girls especially are brought up to be sweet and compliant and thus easy prey. In contrast, I like how Proverbs 31:25 describes the ideal woman: “strength and dignity are her clothing.” No flutteringly helpless Miss there!

  5. did you get further schooling beyond PCC? if so, where? this brand of fundamentalism is a bit different from the j. frank norris variety in texas, missouri, arkansas, etc. a comparative study would be fascinating. i emerged from this latter variety, thanks be to god!

      1. Not that either of them would ever claim the other, because, as you know, BJU professors are not REQUIRED to use the King James in their PERSONAL Bible study but PCC professors supposedly are. (Yep, my youth pastor actually lectured my wife, who was going to attend BJU and me, who was thinking about it, that it was a sin to go to a college where the professors were not required to use the King James in their personal Bible study.)

    1. Actually, Norris and his ilk would have been right at home with the PCC-style of operating. Just read about the events which led to and followed the formation of the Baptist Bible Fellowship. Unfortunately, many men learned, directly or indirectly, and followed his style and method of operation.

  6. IME, When they told you some unnamable person had told them something about you, it was a smoke screen that they were themselves making up or at least exaggerating something they saw. I definitely caught the deans doing exactly that a several times to me. I never had the courage to request some kind of discipline be applied for lying, but I could see the fury when they’d make blatantly false accusations and I’d just smile with a holding back an outburst of laughter that they’d done it again, and that was pretty rewarding.

      1. This happened to me, but I didn’t see through it. In my case my girlfriend (now wife) and I had been off campus without the proper pass, and were seen being pretty touchy. We weren’t (and had not as of the date in question) kissing, but the tattletale said we were. So, the interrogator said that “she affirms that more has happened than you have told us.” I admitted to kissing her another time. Then I had to explain that I wasn’t lying, because we really hadn’t kissed on THAT day, but we did later. He had only asked about that day. Oh well…didn’t help.

        1. That brings up a separate issue, which is that in addition to saying that someone tattled when no one actually did, there often is a tattle-tale who flat out lied. My own sister at West Coast has accused students of being sexually involved on the basis of seeing a guy and a girl give each other a hug.

  7. I feel tempted to message Adam and tell him he’s (in)famous now!

    Seriously, Darrell, I’m so sorry you went through that. I don’t see how anybody could justify that type of behaviour. It’s not christian. It’s not humane. It’s monstrous.

      1. Or not even for YOUR good but for some “greater good” like the testimony and influence of the college. It’s pragmatism. It’s Machiavellian.

        You, you lowly peon, must follow moral guidelines. But they? They have a higher cause. Thus it’s OK for them to violate the very morality they espouse because they’re trying to ensure the safety of their “kingdom.”

        A great explanation of this can be found here: “The Gospel of Pragmatism”: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/05/the-gospel-of-pragmatism/#more

        I think it describes well how the admin of many Christian colleges think, but it is definitely NOT CHRISTIAN! This is worldliness at its finest, in my opinion, and it’s so ironic that they excoriate students for listening to Big Daddy Weave because CCM is “worldly” when they are LIVING EXAMPLES of worldliness because they follow the power structure of pragmatism.

        1. As the White Witch of Narnia puts it: “Ours is a high and lonely destiny!” πŸ‘Ώ

        2. I don’t think it was the White Witch. She at least had done something with her life–things terrible, yes, but great. It was the Professor who was womping on about a high and lonely destiny, and his nephew Diggory was thinking that he was a playacting old poser (or words to that effect).

        3. You’re both right. Uncle Andrew (not to be confused with the good Professor in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) said it first, explaining why he was above following certain rules that governed other people. Jadis said it in chapter 5, and Digory remembered that his uncle had said “exactly the same words. But they sounded much grander when Queen Jadis said them; perhaps because Uncle Andrew was not seven feet tall and dazzlingly beautiful.”

  8. Some of us PCC Floorleaders were a little more reasonable (I even allowed one guy on my floor to get away with having both a fridge and a skillet), but man does that sum up the spirit of fear at PCC! We all lived in fear of the dreaded admin check. We all figured out ways to hide things. By the way, whatever happened to Constitutional right to confront my accuser?

    I remember my senior year (when I was a floorleader)and I started sending away for info from other seminaries. Every time a package arrived from another seminary, it was opened before I got it!. I complained to the Dean of Men who told me it was just a coincidence. However, after that talk with the Dean, it never happened again. Interesting…

    1. Your Sixth Amendment rights are only in effect insofar as they apply in a criminal trial brought against you by a government entity. You have no redress against a private accusation.

      1. True, Liutgard, with respect to criminal due process but the practice of most fundy schools of opening and vetting student mail is a violation of federal criminal law all on its own.

        1. With regards to mail, yes. It is a federal crime to interfere with someone’s mail. But if you’re expecting due process and want to know who is lying about what you keep in your underwear drawer, you’re out of luck.

    2. Yes, I would add that not every floor leader fit this mold.

      There were some very good and decent people who did everything in their power not to exacerbate an already stressful situation.

      The problem is that those folks often themselves ended up in trouble if a strict RM or the Dean’s office got wind that they were being lenient.

    3. I agree. I lived on the 5th floor of young tower inthe 2000-2001 year. I can’t remember their names but they were extremely easy going for PCC

      1. Which just goes to show that it is completely the luck of the draw with respect to what “leaders” you end up with. Sort of makes the rule book look a bit pathetic when it is so unevenly enforced.

        1. Whaaat? Luck? What happened to being in the center of gawd’s perfect will? :mrgreen:

    1. Ah, yes. The ‘ratting’ system. We had something similar at my little fundy college. By the time I got there though, most of the students weren’t willing to participate in it. There were a few prats but most of us wouldn’t consider turning someone else in unless it was a really serious matter. According to the Schindler, we were all hard-hearted and it was because of us that the school was struggling.

      Couldn’t have been because he was a terrible administrator and the environment was oppressive. Nope, it was those evil, reprobate students who wouldn’t rat.

  9. I can understand the no hotpot rule, as in my state, there isn’t a single college that allows for hotpots in dorms. However, this is to deal with the fire code of my state. I don’t know if Florida’s fire code is similar or not in this regard.

    However, with everything else, it doesn’t sound like a college dorm at all. Did they get their ideas from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons?

    1. Yeah, I remember my Catholic college practically begging us to not use grills (yes grills) IN OUR DORMS because of the fire hazard and fire code issues. Finally, they just told us that if they got fined by the fire department, they would tack the fine onto our school bill. But they NEVER dreamed of searching through everyone’s rooms looking for contraband.

  10. I remember getting 50 demerits at Bob Jones for having a set of headphones in an unopened blister pack that I had received in a care package from home. I remember being called in and interrogated by by my dorm supervisor because I was under suspicion of having stolen a girl’s chicken sandwich from the refrigerator (I stored medication in the dorm fridge, which meant that I was on the video cameras opening it at odd hours). And I remember the fateful day when my summer dorm supervisor arrived at my summer campus job (yes, I gave them my summers) to take me down to the dean of women’s office. No explanation, just get in the car. I had a broken foot at the time, so instead of summoning me to walk to the DOW’s office, they sent her to take me. My work supervisors protested that I was in the middle of a project as she hustled me into the car. Once in the dean of women’s office, I was informed that they had a printed record of EVERYTHING I had bought from the vending machines for the past year. I could tell I was expected to look worried by this; instead I just asked politely what the problem was. Lo and behold, there on Miss Baker’s desk lay printed proof that I had purchased a diet soda from the vending machines on a daily basis for most of the year. (I relied on Diet Pepsi to keep me awake for long shifts at my campus job). I was then informed that Miss Baker was concerned for my health. She also had video evidence that I had purchased a candy bar from the vending machines at 4 AM (makes sense, considering I had to be at my campus job so early I didn’t have time to get to the Dining Common with a broken foot).
    I was then informed that both me and my friend Ruth (who was suspected of anorexia because she didn’t scan her card for meals and did scan it for entrance at the gym most evenings) would be monitored. If our cards were not swiped at the Dining Common for every meal, something would be done. I have no idea what would have been done, but it was enough to scare me.
    Something in me died that day.

    1. It’s that level of information gathering that gives students the paranoid impression that the college is somehow omniscient — which is one of the symptoms of an abusive relationship.

      The fact that they would claim track something as granular as a single student’s vending machine purchases is just mind-boggling. Just out of curiosity, were you using pre-loaded money cards the way they did at PCC?

      1. I was scanning my student ID card, which put stuff on my school bill.
        I definitely agree about the aura of omniscience. During my final years at BJU, I remember literally watching my back everywhere I went, including off campus. This was actually not unfounded paranoia. I got skirt demerits from the dean of women on commencement day, when she found me in the gum aisle at Walgreens right before the service. I had temporarily pulled my skirt waistband up to my waist (where it was made to fit) for a few minutes of comfort before returning to campus, where I had to wear it on my hips to make it fall below my knees when seated.

      2. Oh man, I did NOT know they data mined those ID card swipes! Makes it all the more delectable that early in the badge swipe to pay process I paid a couple of guests for the remaining value on their card and used those to pay for everything or swipe instead of my own card as much as possible. If they were mining those, I’m sure they were confused why a college days student was doing laundry still 2 years later! πŸ™‚

        1. As far as I can tell, they only pull data when they want to. It’s not like they’re always scanning through lists of accumulated data. A card like that would fly under the radar because they would never think to look for it. That seems to be the model of computing at my current Fundy U.

    2. Yes, reminds me of a former church; we were encouraged to rat on one another, and the “pastor”/”MOG” completely enjoyed the feeling of omniscience he could give because he had the inside scoop on many things. We were forbidden to go to our brother or sister in Christ in person; we were to bring it to the authority and trust that they would take care of it.

    3. My wife got some huge number of demerits at BJU her freshman year because someone sent her an e-mail that had the word “crap” in it! Her father called the school and reminded them of his sizeable financial contribution that he had made at the beginning of the year and all demerits were immediately dropped.

      (If that had been me, my parents would have been filled with glee that I got in trouble and probably would have called the college and asked them to kick me out just so they could have the fun of seeing me be humiliated. Fortunately for my wife, my father-in-law was not such an ass.)

      1. I got 25 d’s for an email I sent to my then soon-to-be ex which had the word ‘damn’ in it. I was pretty mad at my ex. So I got called up to Miss Potter. She showed me a copy of my email and said that their scanners had caught that word. I said, “Yep.” She asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about. I said, “Nope.” She kind of stared at me a minute and I just stared back. Finally she just reiterated that I was getting the d’s and let me leave. I guess they don’t know how to further intimidate students who don’t speak much or give much of a defense.

        1. This made me laugh.

          It sounds like you were auditioning for a role in a cowboy movie opposite Clint Eastwood.

  11. Given that fundies are so concerned about outward appearances, I will make this observation: the “admissions director” looks like a Class-A tool. I could tell he was/is a “true believer” from his $3 haricut and condescending, vapid smile. This is the look of your typical young fundamentalsit. You can tell that he thinks he has all the answers and is one of the select few who are “right with God”. From constantly being around people of this ilk for the first 16 years of my life, I can pick them out from a mile away.

    1. Yeah,I didn’t really think about it that much. I just wanted to effing punch him in his conceited, pasty, flabby, face. He looks like the guy version of my sister.

  12. wow….your college experience mirrors mine…only I went to BJU. My last year was the worst, just so draining. Hall leaders and admin did everything they could to keep me from graduating, since i was on the “black list” from my freshman year. I had to make pre 8 a.m. trips to the Dean of Womens office,I had to explain what i was doing every time my car left campus (they have tags u put in your car that registers the exact time you come and go, and they printed off my activity for a solid month, informing me that leaving so often was NOT avoiding the appearance of evil.)When I managed to stand my ground all semester, and they had nothing on me, an R.A actually manufactured a story anout me being seen off campus in pants, i was called into the admins office, and a 2 week “investigation” ensued.I was told that the demerits accrued for being out in pants would put me over the limit and i would not be allowed to walk at graduation. HELL NO. I spent so much time defending myself, and proving my “case”, i have no clue how i even passed my classes. It was degrading, and nightmarish. Three weeks befors graduation, i recieved an email from Jim Berg, informing me that he knows I dont deserve to walk, and that “God had not yet decided to reveal evidence against me yet, but he trusts that he will in time. As it stands, you will UNFORTUNATELY not be receiving demerits for wearing pants off campus.” I still have that email…I was under so much pressure I actually had a panic attack in from of the Founders Memorial Amphitorium, and collapsed on the ground, much to the entertainment of the students filing in for chapel…….Fun memories………….

    1. Let’s say you’re a good student, and so like a smart bear you simply purge your wardrobe of pants. No pants, no problem. But then some officious pissant sees you at SteinMart admiring a mannikin and turns you in for setting a bad example by admiring a pair of pants. “But I was looking at the cardigan!” you say, to no avail. You have damaged your testimony by thinking about pants. Now you police your wardrobe, your roommate’s wardrobe, your car, your home closet, and your thoughts. NO PANTS! Your girl children will never see pants if you can help it. You glare at pants-wearing women on the street for setting such evil before you!

      Meanwhile, the MOGs are blithely taking your money and polishing their shafts right up front on the altar. It is a beautifully crafted system of misdirection, I must say. Penn and Teller couldn’t trick the flock any better!

    2. You still have the e-mail?
      PLEASE share it with the rest of us!
      It would make another great chapter in the never-ending saga Jim Berg’s exploits.

    3. “You will Unfortunately NOT be receiving Demerits…” Oh gee, I am soooooo disappointed not to get in even more trouble! πŸ˜› :mrgreen:

  13. and there’s just so much more I can’t resist getting it off my chest. There was the summer that I didn’t work at Bob Jones; instead, I took a job in my home state. One day my mother and I both received separate phone calls from the dean’s office. Mine came while I was on the clock at work–the caller from the dean’s office at BJU had informed my supervisor that they needed to speak with me about a disciplinary matter, and he transferred the call to my desk. The girl on the other end was accusing me of having typed X-rated words into a search engine and visited porn sites while on campus. While I wildly protested that I hadn’t done so (as a female, I really would have no interest in female porn anyway) and my mom protested that I never would, the girl calmly assured us that they had documented evidence. My keystrokes had been recorded. I was a liar.
    I spent a week in fear and dread. I prepared a statement to give my home church as to why I would be kicked out of BJU.
    Later, the next week, we both got calls saying that there really was no way to prove this had happened. Sometimes things look suspicious, the girl informed me innocently, and they like to test people out and see how they react when confronted. But it could have been triggered by an ad on the news website I had visited, she admitted.

    It seems that Bob Jones takes a more “parental” approach to disciplinary matters–always trying to drag my mother into things (odd, considering I was an adult). I don’t know if PCC is similar in this way?

    1. You are so right about the BJU “parental approach!” When i was there, i remember on several occasions my mother calling me in a panic, “what have you done?!?!?!” THey had taken the liberty to call her before i had even been aware that there was a problem….

        1. There is – FERPA, or Buckley Amendment. State universities can have virtually no contact with parents of students. (see below from wikipedia):

          It gave students access to their education records, an opportunity to seek to have the records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records. With several exceptions, schools must have a student’s consent prior to the disclosure of education records after that student is 18 years old. The law only applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

          Examples of situations affected by FERPA include school employees divulging information to anyone other than the student about the student’s grades or behavior, and school work posted on a bulletin board with a grade. Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record.

    2. I have never seen an ad for porn on news websites. I wonder why these colleges are so bombastic about skirts and ties, but they have no problem whatsoever with outright lying (which, after all, is one of the 10 commandments).

      1. Oh, I’ve seen ads for porn pop up on otherwise innocent web sites. It can happen.

        But what business is that of the university’s?
        I’m an adult. I know better than to click on those links.

    3. Oh, the good old “call your parents” approach. I remember that trick very well. My wife, who attended BJU, would call her parents first whenever she could to preempt the college from getting to shock them with the “news” of her misbehavior. they didn’t care anyway.

      For my part, one of the weirdest experiences I ever had at an ATI training center was when a group of us got in trouble for “watching movies in other people’s rooms.” (It was not a crime to watch movies in your own room if you were on staff – the crime was doing it as a group activity in someone else’s room.) I managed to get out of that one since I actually hadn’t been in the room with the movie the night everyone got caught (and none of my peers were mad at me in the least for not bothering to mention to the authorities that I was usually there too). Anyway, I remember sitting in the lobby watching a row of grown, adult men (most of them over the age of 20) being called into the director’s office one at a time to call their parents and tell them what they did on speaker phone. One of my friends got a laugh when his parents didn’t realize the director was on the line and said “oh that’s awesome, glad you are making friends, we love that movie, just don’t get caught next time!”

    4. Interesting. I got 75 demerits during summer school of my freshman year at BJU for something similar. A tech blog I was reading had a screenshot from the nVidia “Dawn” tech demo, and I ended up getting 75 demerits for “disobeying a directive” by not reporting this to… whoever it was I was supposed to report a 3d rendered fairy to.

      Humorously, I got the demerits on the same day as my “attaboy” letter from Dr. Bob for not getting any demerits the previous school year.

      I did get the nighttime call down to the dorm sup’s office. I also got some weirdly prying questions about if I “liked” what I’d seen – in retrospect I think he was probably trying to see if I was secretly gay.

      I will admit to being a “true believer” up until this point. I think this incident was what woke me up to what was really going on, so in a way, I’m a little grateful this happened so early on.

  14. By the way, I met floor leader Andy a few years later when he came to my church as the musical act for a traveling evangelist.

    He told the pastor with a big smile that Darrell was one of “my guys.” I resisted the urge to jump across the table and throttle him.

    1. I think a slow, calm and deliberate
      “No… No I am not one of ‘your guys’ ”
      would have served as a kind-of punch in the face.

    2. Well done for not doing so. Sadly, these situations often are social checkmate; no matter what you do, you lose. Behold the power of the borderline sociopath!

    3. You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys.
      You don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys.

      And don’t tell me what to do
      And don’t tell me what to say
      And please, when I’m put on your floor,
      Don’t put me on display!

    4. As much as a punch to the face would have been personally enjoyable (and even understandable), just simply getting up and walking out of the room and building without saying a single word would have sent the strongest message.

    5. I’ve never felt any restraint at pointing out that person x was a douche if they show up later in life and try to pretend we were friends. If you wanted to be the good guy, you should’ve thought of that before you acted like a douche.

  15. This story, and others like it (including at BJU, which I attended in the late 80s, though I toed the line sufficiently even as I grew increasingly critical of the school in my last two years so never experienced this myself), confirm for me the totalitarian mindset of fundamentalist Christianity. If you’ve ever read histories or novels about life in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, you’ll immediately recognize the stories recounting dread at the sound of footsteps approaching down the apartment block hallway in the dead of night, hoping desperately that they don’t knock at your apartment door, that it’s someone else, a friend, a neighbor, that has fallen under suspicion, not you. Stories of being dragged out of your apartment, hauled down to the police station, and peppered with anonymous accusations intended to elicit a confession (even though the regime itself allows no anonymous criticisms of itself, as anonymity in those instances evidences cowardice and betrayal of the principles of the revolution). Stories of literal and figurative disappearances, from campus, from yearbooks, from memories, talked about only in hushed whispers, lest the contaminant of the expelled taint you as well.

    I remember Bob III once saying that the Timothy program (essentially a scholarship fund used to bring third world students to campus for four years, but which required them to return to their home countries afterwards, to facilitate the spread of Christian fundamentalism outside the US) was expressly modeled on the Soviet practice of doing the same, to train third-world revolutionaries by bringing them to the Soviet Union to school them in the principles of the revolution. I remember thinking this was a little odd at the time – why model yourself on a regime you profess to hate, or, even if you do, why say so publicly – but it was only after leaving that I realized that the whole disciplinary (and arguably academic) program there was also modeled on a totalitarian framework. Not so surprising, I suppose, given that in both contexts ideological (theological) purity is the highest priority, and that the welfare of mere individuals – at least those not close to the power centers – was of value only to the extent that it served the the preservation of that purity.

    Now it’s true that the consequences of deviance were rather more severe in the Soviet Union than at any fundamentalist university. And it’s true that students, in some sense, agreed to submit to these rules in a way that many Russians or Germans did not. Still, one wonders how an institution that purports to be committed to following the example of Jesus can, consistent with that commitment, demand of its students, its faculty, its staff that they submit to this kind of corrupting, loveless system that treats individuals not as ends in themselves but as means that can be tossed aside at the smallest sign of deviance.

    1. If the theocrats got their way, every college in America would be run like this.

      Meanwhile, the campus hub of my old school is a pizza parlor–that serves beer.

    1. Because in many cases, our parents forced us to. It was those institutions or the street, and I can promise you, the street wasn’t an appealing alternative for a barely 17 yo girl.

      1. PP – I totally understand the parents-forcing-you-to dynamic. When I was about 14 my dad told me that I was going to BJU or HAC. It scared me to death. Thank God, my parents saw the truth of fundydom when I was 16 and got us out of that mess. To this day (30 years later) my mom still apologizes to me.

        1. Yeah, try having parents tell you that you aren’t allowed to go to college at all. It’s either go to an ATI training center or stay home and “serve your family.” Oh well, at least that regime kept me out of Bible college until I was able to apply for a real college while living at an ATI training center!!

    2. They are raise in churches and baptist schools that are a feeder system for the fundie college in their non-network network. They’re in a cult, it’s the only world they know.

    3. I can’t think of anyone to every attend any fundy U I know of that wasn’t minimally strongly encouraged to go by at least a group of mentors/church leaders. Often it’s required by Parents. I went to PCC cause my Parents said they would only help me pay for school at all if I went to a Bible College, and PCC & BJ were the only ones that had computer science degrees, and PCC was the more affordable of the 2. Also had a lot of misconceptions/naivete both from being young, and from being surrounded by all of the proponents (Baptist school/teachers/friends/etc).

  16. the trump card of “you agreed to submit to these rules” was well-played at BJU. I swallowed it for a long time, and preached it to others when they complained about the rules.
    I whole-heartedly agree, in one sense–if the rulebook says don’t wear pants, and you do, then expect to be punished, and don’t complain.
    The problem is that most of the rules are unprinted. Once you are blacklisted, like I was, at one of these institutions, they will find ways to get you that aren’t in the rulebook.
    I was one of the good kids. I never did any of the obvious things–sneaking off campus, watching movies, listening to music, etc. I didn’t even really care about those things. It didn’t matter– I got busted for diet soda and chicken sandwiches.
    Eventually I got kicked out of graduate school for kissing my husband-to-be over Christmas break, in a different state, after I graduated from undergrad and before enrolling as a graduate student. According to the letter of the law as laid out in the rulebook, I should not have been disciplined for this.
    Didn’t matter. I was ratted out by the one person I confided in and expelled.
    The law kills, but grace makes free. I met many gracious and loving people at BJU. I can only pray that those in power will be touched by grace.

    1. An outsider would ask, if they don’t want you to buy diet soda or candy bars, why they have them in their vending machines on campus. But the internal logic of these institutions doesn’t work that way.

  17. I was at PCC once for a summer music academy in ’99. Being 14, the new sports complex, the commons, and all the imported palm trees made it seem like the most awesome place ever. Three things told me I needed to be careful.
    There were no locks on the dorm rooms, at least not in Young. They had us and the drama camp kids all sequestered up on the sixth floor, so I had a floor full of strangers I didn’t trust and anybody could walk in at any time. Not three weeks there and there were accusations of stealing going on.
    Second, I had to get a pass to go off campus to get my glasses fixed. With my mother. Which, I understand, but it had to be recorded on an electronic time clock – wouldn’t want me falsifying the record there…
    Third, we had chapel every week day morning with the same speaker. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name. I’m sure I could remember more if I tried, but I don’t seem to have a reason to… I do remember that the sixth floor laundry room always ate my card and I had to get a new one several times.

  18. Had many such experiences during my time at BJU (78-82). One that really changed me didn’t happen directly to me but happened in my room (Brokenshire dorm). Had a roommate in the school of applied studies who witnessed or knew something the administration wanted information about. He was called on the dorm room phone by the director of the Institute, Nelson McGew (sp?). My roommate didn’t want to rat out his friend so he turns to my other roommate (the PC) and says “what should I do?” PC says do what you think is right. The phone goes dead – McGew hangs up. Not 5 minutes later, into the dorm room bursts the hall monitor, dorm supervisor and Nelson McGew. McGew is about to have a heart attack he is so angry. He turns to my PC John and screams – and I mean screams like I have never heard an adult do before or since – “just who do you think you are interrupting my call with Dwight” “Your just, just a STUUUUUDENT.” John was 2 weeks from graduating and as a grown man was ready to break down.

    To this day I would spit in the eye of Nelson McGew if I had the chance. That one day, I saw just what the administration though of the students. They hated them, the students were the means to a paycheck, no love, no care, no nothing. Truly the most pathetic things I ever saw in my four years at BJU.

  19. I was a good kid my first year at Bible college. I did everything I was told and followed all the rules. For me, Fundy U was an escape from the horrors of my home life (one of the reasons I graduated early). All the rule-following in the world didn’t matter, though. When it came right down to it, I was disruptive. Maybe it’s my nature. First, I complained (loudly and to several people) about a baby I was 99 percent sure was being abused. That marked me as a troublemaker. Abuse was a way of life at Fairhaven, but being a college student, I didn’t that. Then, I publicly disagreed with RV on a doctrinal issue. I wasn’t able to return (all right by me). By the next college, I was pretty well disillusioned. I decided that if all my rule following couldn’t keep me safe, then I’d live life on my own terms, and I did. I didn’t enjoy being expelled (from the next two colleges), but at the same time, I didn’t care all that much. I knew those schools weren’t my future.

    The third time I got kicked out was the last, and I was soon able to get a decent job, an apartment and never look back.

  20. This one did happen to me while at BJU. My junior year I saved enough cash to buy what was at the time, a decent stereo system. I had it in the dorm room and (like a good little Bojo) listened exclusively to classical music. My PC had an issue with “how much I loved my stereo” and took his case to the dorm supervisor. Got hauled down to his apartment and grilled about the music “you must be listening to at home.” Fact was, I truly didn’t listen to R&R at home. Of course, they didn’t believe me so I was put on spiritual probation.

    You know, I would probably spit in Doug Sprunger’s eye as well.

  21. Shoot, while I’m in a spitting mood, add Bob Wood to the list. The fool calls up my future father-in-law to tell him I am a trouble maker. Fortunately, father in law knew me better and didn’t really care what Wood thought. 31 years later my wife still thinks she made a good decision. Bob Wood, what a prick.

    1. My hubby and I met at work. (At a fast food joint.) The owner was a Bible college graduate, completely unqualified to run a restaurant. He wasn’t a fundamentalist, strictly speaking, but had lots of fundy tendencies. Anyway, he had a habit of getting in people’s personal lives and interfering. After my hubby and I got engaged
      (there was no rule against employees dating) he called my hubby into his office and tells him he shouldn’t marry me because I wasn’t stable because I was adopted. How he found that out, I’ll never know. It was all my poor hubby could do not to beat the man in the face.

      1. I am just going to say it even though it might make me sound like a fundy. The fundy bias against adoption is a SIN.

        There is just nothing more to be said. My parents demanded of me and my wife when we got married that if we ever considered adoption that we needed to talk to them first so they could explain to us why adoption is wrong and bad. We haven’t had children by natural means yet and they grow increasingly nervous that we might actually commit the sin of adoption. Amusingly for me, my mother blasted my wife on Facebook again recently about adoption and a friend FROM MY MOTHER’S CHURCH who adopted a little boy blasted my mother in front of everyone. All my mother said was “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

        1. I agree with you. I think the verse about “woe to those who call good evil and evil good” applies here.

          How dare they condemn something that God Himself uses to picture what He does to us: He adopts us into His family. How dare anyone criticize those who lovingly give up their privacy and open their very home and hearts to welcome the helpless and needy. They defy Scripture by living in fear, the fear of generation sin and evil being passed on to this child, when God tells us NOT TO FEAR but to love.

        2. I would have very special, very violent words for someone who confronted me about the “sin” of adoption. They would be eating the rest of their meals through a straw. What a pile of horse shoes. That’s a nerve they just don’t want to touch.

        3. Yes, they’d prefer I was left with a sixteen year old drug addict than with a Christian mother and stable home. πŸ™„ Or better yet, if I had just “disappeared.”

        4. Any Christian opposed to adoption is an ultra-maroon. An imbessle. Because every single Christian that ever was, was adopted.

        5. I had no idea that “adoption sin” crock was out there until my wife showed me chatter that was out there. I can’t imagine how you reconcile that dumb idea with Gods admonition to defend the fatherless? Thankfully my church and friend circles are very supportive of our past adoption and our next adoption!

        6. I should have said how does a person reconcile… I did not mean you personally.

    2. I’m trying to imagine how my own father-in-law (who is, by the way, an administrative law judge) would react if some stranger called him to dish dirt on me. I think he would not only ignore the complaint about me, but would give the interloper what-for.
      Not that he thinks I can do no wrong, but he’s a stand-up guy and he doesn’t put up with that kind of shenanigans.

      Robot Gypsy, I hope and trust that you have a different job by now. That boss sounds like a Grade-A nut case.

      1. Oh yes, I left not long after we got engaged. Also, I’ll give you two guesses which fast-food franchise lets someone with a Bible degree run it. (Nothing wrong with having that degree, it just isn’t conducive to running a successful restaurant.) πŸ™„

        1. Let’s see … does its name with Lick LaHaye?

        2. Oh, indeed. And while I had some great managers (GAY!) and co-workers (GAY!) who were never mistreated, I was based solely on the fact I was adopted. πŸ™„ That owner can kiss my ass.

  22. Wow, that story sounds like my first year at pcc. I was a “mature” student (at 23) and yea getting woke up at midnight or 2 am for interrogation more than once. They wanted to search my room on a weekend, but I refused to leave so they could not. They could never pin anything on me. The happiest memory I have of that place is seeing that school get smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror as I drove away.

  23. Here’s a major difference between a Fundy U and the Reformed college I attended. The school had a “no alcohol on campus rule”. Two of my teammates/friends (underclassmen) got caught with beer in their room and had to go before the judicial committee. I went along as an advocate for them because I was a senior and very close to the college chaplain. When I started to make my defense for them, the Dean (who chaired the committee) looked at me, smiled, and asked what they might find in my room if it was searched. I told them that I thought I may have left the water running in my bathroom and should really go back RIGHT AWAY and make certain it was off. The Dean smiled (again) and said he thought it was good idea if I did. My friends got suspended for a week (which was standard) and they (the admin) never came to my room. The whole thing reminded me of Animal House (which was the genesis of my “Bro Bluto” moniker). The resident assistants/resident directors didn’t look for violations, but if you were too overt about it (my friends were causing quite a rukus when they were busted) then they almost had to bust you.
    If you should happen to ever read this Mike and Willie, I still feel bad about leaving you at the committe, but you were/are class guys not to call me on it.

    1. and here I thought your name came from Popeye’s long-time friendly foe; always got the image of Bluto in a monk’s habit. πŸ˜€

      1. Panda Rose – you may call me Brother-in-Christ Bluto if you wish πŸ˜† If I were to meld the two images together I would be wearing a monk’s habit and shirt with a generic “College” on the front. (Not to spoil the imagery, but I actually wear a suit or sport coat most days.)

  24. You know, I never got in trouble for breaking the rules, and I never kept them. I really, truly, just didn’t care. From day one I played video games like Unreal Tournament and Heroes of Might and Magic; I watched movies like the Matrix and Terminator 3; I walked on the grass, wore sleeveless shirts to play basketball, and countless other infractions. I never got in trouble.

    I remember one concerned roommate informing me that the Bible said to obey authority; QED, I was sinning every time I broke a rule. This resulted in a short, sharp lecture from me on missing-major-premise fallacies and the logical impossibility of an authority figure determining morality. Five minutes later the somewhat chastened roomie declared, “You were home-schooled, weren’t you.” (apparently the only two choices were Christian school or home-school).

    1. Pray tell, did you go to a Fundy U. in a certain Greenville in the Southeast? I just don’t expect that type of behavior to have lasted that long here. I would like to learn your secrets about survival!

  25. Darrell,
    I have a small interest in other languages. Could you do me a favor and post the interrogation by this Jordan person in the original German?

    1. “Wir haben einen Zeugen”, said Jordan in his most melodramatic tones, “wer sagt uns, dass Sie sich in Ihrem Zimmer Schmuggelware.”

      I raised my eyebrows. β€œWho is this person?”

      “Wir kΓΆnnen nicht sagen, dass,” he spluttered, “aber sie sind jemand, der in der Lage zu wissen ist.”

      I shrugged. β€œIf you can’t tell me who the person is then I can’t possibly hope to explain what they might think I have. But I’ll tell you what,if it helps you can go search my room. I’ll show you everything I own.”

      “Liar!”, smashing his leather-clad fist on the Table, Jordan looked away to the cell door “If you refuse to cooperate, then I shall have to deal with you in a less.. forgiving manner”

      1. Wow. Thanks for that.

        I know very little of the language but I assume the German reads something like this:

        “Choose your next witticism carefully Mr. Dow, it may be your last.”
        “No Mr. Dow. I expect you to die!”

        1. Or . . . (as quoted here on SFL recently):

          No. 6: What do you want?

          No. 2: Information.

          No. 6: Whose side are you on?

          No. 2: That would be telling. We want information, information, information.

          No. 6: You won’t get it.

          No. 2: By hook or by crook we will.

          Be seeing you 😎

  26. A friend of mine on facebook has been posting all week about how he’s graduating from PCC. I’m sorely tempted to post this link to his page. I won’t, because I don’t want to argue with him, but it would be a little fun. :mrgreen:

      1. Oh, no, he’s a man – I couldn’t possibly upset or contradict him in any way. ::puts on skirt and pantyhose:: ::gets in kitchen:: πŸ˜‰

  27. Again, Mr. Dow, you amaze me at how you can so succinctly put things. You captured the utter fear we all lived under while we were there in such a way, it almost made me physically sick to think of it all again. I appreciate this series this week. I understand the need to get certain things out there and off your shoulders. But, alas, I’m already as tired and mentally beat down reading all this as if I just walked across that stage again and shook Dr. Horton’s hand hoping my family didn’t holler and publicly humiliate me and keep me from getting my diploma….I’m going to pour a good stiff drink and dream of better days….like tomorrow.

    You’re the man.

  28. I am blown away by this. I thought my Fundy U was harsh but it was a breeze compared to PCC and BJU.

    At my Fundy U I never got in trouble for breaking the rules though I violated them almost daily.
    I only ever got demerits for dorm duties.

    I remember once I got caught violating one of the rules. It was a really dumb rule. Guys couldn’t wear blue jeans off-campus. I was in line at the bank in blue jeans and I heard someone call me by name. I turned around and saw the Dean of Men standing there. I asked if I was in trouble for wearing jeans to the bank. He shrugged and said “I try not to enforce the stupid rules.”

    When I say I violated the rules almost daily it was rules like that. The big ones I violated were listening to unapproved music, (I had a heathen taste for classical music. Egads!) wearing jeans where people could see me, listening to unapproved radio stations and staying late at work when my boss required it, thereby being out after curfew.

      1. I know it now. Back then I was just a sheltered kid from rural Appalachia. I thought everyone got treated that way.

        Funnily enough, Fundy U was actually less strict than my home environment so I reveled in the freedom I felt there.

    1. I think it’s so sad that they have to ruin what could be a good idea with their excessive need for power and control and their intense emphasis on picky extra-Biblical standards.

      A lot of Christian young people want to go to a Christian college. But they get there and find their expectations dashed because those in power lost all perspective and have created a draconian and destructive power structure.

  29. I was a fresh graduate from Jaw Bones, back on campus to see a friend during the first week of school. We were laughing, joking, having a good time, when this man walks up and starts berating us (I was in the Reprobate Society, Chi Delta Theta, so we were always a target). Well, I told him to buzz off and went back to my conversation. He grabbed me by my shoulder and started to yell at me, on a public sidewalk, with several hundred people in the area. I reared around on him and shouted in his face that if he didn’t take his hand off me, I would rip his arm from its socket and shove the whole mess down his stinkin’ throat. I then informed him that I was a graduate, not a student, and that he was now required to grovel before me in hopes of getting money for the school; that his opportunity to abuse me was GONE.

    He immediately started groveling, apologizing for his behavior, telling me that he understood exactly where I was coming from, hoping that I would understand.

    Still in front of all these people.

    Amazing, what cowards these bullies are.

    1. He immediately started groveling, apologizing for his behavior, telling me that he understood exactly where I was coming from, hoping that I would understand.

      Grima Wormtounge.

      1. And like Wormtongue, he’s still dangerous, just cowed. Fortunately you could leave, but there’s a fair chance you made a long-term enemy.

        1. You will be happy to learn that in the past 21 years, I have not lost so much as a wink of sleep over the thought that I might have made an enemy of such a “man.” πŸ˜€

    2. Before you get there, you’re catered to because they want your money, and after you’ve graduated, they do the same because they want your support and your recommendation of other students. But WHILE you’re there, it’s sadly a different story altogether.

        1. I mean to say, the sleazeball administration weenie scurried off…not my friend.

  30. First, this is why I kept all my CDs in my car. All I had was a phantom of the opera cd, and various CCM CDs. The only thing I kept in my room was a Jim Brickman cd. Oooohh scary.
    Now, here is my story. I got accused of meeting my girlfriend off campus without permission. We were turned in by a so called friend. Go figure on that one.what actually happened is that we ended up at the naval museum at the same time. I found after we had gotten permission to go, but didn’t say much. I had already made plans and was going regardless. Yes my friend and I saw them, but did not talk to them, because that was “against the rules.” Yes even being friendly could get u expelled. When we came back to my car, my girlfriend had left a not that they were going to sonic. Ok probably shouldn’t have but we went to sonic. We parked next to them but again did not speak to them. Two weeks later I was sitting in class and got that dread come to the seams office note. Embarrassing cause everybody can tell when u receive it what it is. I find out the accusation once I get and explain that is not what really happened. I didn’t lie I told them what I just told u. Meanwhile the friend I went to the museum with us in the other room getting grilled to. Deans assistant left only to storm back into the room saying our stories were not matching. Which by the way was not true. So who was lying mr dean, who!!!!? I spent the night in another dorm with another floor leader. Who was nice to me. Maybe he was playing the good cop I don’t know. Oh I forgot the funniest part. I had go before Dr Ohman. Who sat there with a pencil half bending it telling me I don’t like it when people lie to me. Today Iwould’ve went across that desk grabbed that pencil and shove it up his butt. Anyways, the next day the verdict was that this was a misunderstanding an we realize you are all good kids. I didn’t wait four years I took my elsewhere after that year and to this I discourage anyone from going to PCC. It isn’t worth it they are not even accredited which will catch up to them one day. I know of someone who graduated from PCC who couldn’t get hired at Arlington baptist college because of that. Arlington is accredited. I have ranted enough for one day. If you have children considering PCC talk them out of it. They will come out with wounds that take a long time to heal

  31. To me, one of the most interesting things about the Stanford Prison Experiment was that the experimenters got word of an “escape plot” and went to elaborate lengths to try to foil any escapes by the “prisoners.”
    As volunteer experimental subjects, the “prisoners” were free at all times to simply say “I quit,” and walk out. Beyond asking them to stay, Professor Zimbardo and his assistants had no right to try to stop them from leaving. All parties involved knew this. Yet they all got so involved in the role-play that they did what they thought was expected of them.

    I often think of this as an example of how often we are willing participants in our own (metaphorical) imprisonment.

    1. And the truly scary thing is, Zimbardo, worried about how quickly the Stanford Experiment went south, ended it just a couple of weeks after it began. This just seems to go on and on with no one to say “Stop!” There seems to be no oversight from the school, at least where abuses are concerned. πŸ™

      1. Six days.
        The experiment was originally planned to last two weeks. But Zimbardo realized that things were getting way out of hand and ended it all after six days. In describign the experiment later, he always included himself among those who had gotten carried away and done things they shouldn’t have.

        1. Thanks, Gary, I knew it was cut short but couldn’t remember exactly how long. My college psych corse was longer ago that I want to admit.

  32. I learned very quickly that the secret to survival was knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.

    Or, knowing not to keep ANY contraband in your room and knowing to never argue with authority. Unless you absolutely had to argue with authority in which case you needed to make sure you had a lot of leverage.

    1. So true. I remember a floor leader walking in (no knock, of course, and no locks), and I was wearing headphones. I was wearing headphones because I was playing some video game or something and my room mates were napping. He was outraged at my rebellion. I just told him, yeah, I was wearing headphones because my roommates were napping – past tense, thanks to his (loud) intrusion. I didn’t get in trouble for it.

  33. I knew a couple floor leaders who struggled in their classes, particularly their language classes which were just about the only difficult classes that Bible majors had to take. Why did they struggle? Because they stayed up half the night sitting outside the dorm room of “scum”– their word– whom they were trying to catch talking so they could write them up.

    I gave a floor leader a ride to Wal Mart once and he immediately started opening my glove box. I said, “What do you think you are doing in my car?” He said, “Oh, sorry.” There was nothing scandalous in there but that wasn’t the point.

    1. Yeah, and it most Bible colleges the faculty would be ordered to go ahead and give them good grades even if they didn’t earn them. My former youth pastor once taught a class at Heartland Baptist Bible College and quit after the first year because he was ordered to give passing grades to one of the pastor’s favorites even though the kid never attended class or did any of the work. (He was busy “ministering,” which later was revealed to be fundese for “impregnating his girlfriend.”)

      1. I don’t think these guys were cut much slack. I wonder if they think it was worth it now to sacrifice your grades just to harass kids who were probably only doing something completely normal and unremarkable in any other context.

    1. Hi Outsider – Many of them don’t know. In my case, we lived 1500 miles from Bob Jones University and only knew about them because we used their curriculum in homeschooling. To this day, my parents still believe that BJU is simply a particularly strict Christian school. Partly because I DID have some good experiences while I was there (a few great teachers, some good friends), they regard what little I’ve told them about the school’s dark underbelly as an aberration. They’ve only recently acknowledged BJU’s racist past, for instance. It’s easy to not realize what goes on there, if you’re separated by sufficient distance or don’t belong to an IFB denomination.

      1. I just can’t imagine hearing my child tell of being rousted in the middle of the night, or having personal items searched, without immediately pulling them from the school.

        Speaking of the racism reminds me of “(We Don’t Need No) Color Code” by Steve Taylor. Not that it is inherently racist, I did notice all the picts on PCC’s site white students.

    2. A lot of the parents WANT their kids to be treated like this. My sister that I am always talking about was the perfect child, apple of my parents’ eye, the favorite, and so on, etc. BUT, when she attended the ATI EXCEL program where they did a weekly spiritual evaluation, she received all 5s on hers except for one 4. My parents immediately called the training center and eagerly interrogated my sister’s poor leader (who was an honestly nice person) for an hour about what bad things my sister had done to earn a 4 and what was done about it. My sister was humiliated and her leader felt about the same. My parents were so gleeful and excited to think that she was in trouble for something – I remember that very well. I never likec my sister much, but watching that whole experience go down made me sick. She was so excited to go to that program and they just ruined it for her with their judgment, hate, and spite.

      So yes, a lot of parents are THRILLED that their kids are in fundy prison. My wife was an admissions counselor for Bob Jones and she mentioned how many parents would refer to “sending” their child to Bob Jones and would ask her questions that revealed that THEY, not their child, were selecting where their kid could go.

    3. I had the same question, Outsider. How can parents tolerate such blatant violations of basic human rights? Only if, somehow, they don’t know about them.

      1. Many parents (and teens) are told that secular colleges are terrible places with drug use, promiscuous sex, and drinking partying all of the time.

        It’s a natural inclination to want to shelter your child from that kind of stuff, so the colleges promote that they “protect” your kids with these strict rules.

  34. My senior year at BJU, I was made a room leader (APC). It was a terrible experience. I had no idea how to lead a room and settled for trying to enforce the rules. Specifically, I remember trying to keep my roommates from talking on the phone after 11.00 PM and trying to keep them from cussing.

    Towards the end of the semester, my interventions ended with a shouting match and me standing outside the room of the dorm supervisor, because I was at my wit’s end on what to do and needed help. The dorm sup was not helpful (although she wasn’t *mean* as some of them were.) Still, this is what makes me most angry about my time there: They pile these responsibilities on our shoulders and then don’t tell us how to be successful at them. “Training” sessions amounted to devotionals, as if we just talked about Jesus around our roommates that would help. I had NO idea how to relate to my roommates, and nothing I said or did made any difference, and they sat back and watched as we destroyed ourselves.

    That said, I feel bad about my own part in this. Yeah, I was still relatively young and naive and just obeyed the rules, but I know I caused my roommates grief. I wish I could start that part over again.

    1. My experience has been that any request for help ended up with the person asking for help being blamed for the problem. If the students in your room are breaking the rules they will council you on your lack of spirituality. As an education major, if you students misbehaved they would council you for your lack of disciplinary skills. Even students with special needs or emotional issues had a “lack of discipline”. There was never any help with interpersonal skills or constructive help for learning problems.

  35. Darrell,

    Thank you for your stories these last few days. They painfully bring back my own memories of a fundy school I attended.

    I am interested in knowing what your church situation is now that you moved.
    Second, you should write a recovering fundy book on how to come out of the movement still loving Jesus.

  36. When I was in high school (homeschooled, of course), I probably got mail from PCC at least once a week. After the first 3, I stopped accepting them from my mom only to turn and throw them in the trash myself, and had her do it right off the bat. I did A Beka. I wasn’t about to deal with fundamentalists.

  37. All of your stories turn my stomach and bring back such bad memories of BJU. I graduated in 1986 and what surprises me most is that this stuff still goes on today. I was more of a quiet rebel who just wanted to study hard, get a degree, secure a job and basically be left alone, but as you know that doesn’t make those people happy. When I think of the term “spiritual probation” today I just shake my head and try to laugh..how utterly arrogate and judgmental to label people with such bullshit and then try to use it as leverage against them. Somehow, I managed to make it out but on graduation day, what should be a time of happiness and accomplishment, I was so angry and disgusted that I tried to find Dean of Men, Tony Miller to publicly curse him. As my head cleared, may anger faded and realizing my folks wouldn’t really appreciate such a spectacle, I simple packed my stuff and left…for good…but not without a vintage, authentic “QUIET HOUR” sign as a souvenir. I still have the sign to this day and I still wish I had found Tony to vent my 4 years of misery.

      1. That is so funny because a year or two ago I did indeed email Tony and let him know how I felt in not too nasty terms. I doubt if he remembered me and as you might expect…he never oresponded. However, it was quite therapeutic for me…

  38. The title of the post reminded me of the song “At the End of the Day.” With just a little tweaking it could apply to fundy U.

    (And, yes, I feel a little guilty for trivializing the plight of the 19th century French poor with our experience. No, we didn’t literally starve, but legalism starved our souls and broke our spirits.)

    At the end of the day, you’re another day older,
    And that’s all you can say for the life at this school.
    It’s a struggle; it’s a war,
    And there’s nothing that anyone’s giving.
    One more day following rules; what is it for?
    One day less to be living.

    At the end of the day you’re another day colder
    And the tie round your neck doesn’t keep out the chill
    And the righteous hurry past
    They don’t see that inside you’re crying
    And the tattlers are coming on fast, ready to kill –
    One day nearer to dying!

    At the end of the day there’s another day dawning,
    And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise.
    Like the waves crash on the sand,
    Like a storm that’ll break any second,
    There’s a hunger in the land.
    There’s a reckoning still to be reckoned and
    There’s gonna be hell to pay
    At the end of the day!

    At the end of the day you get nothing for nothing
    If you question their rules, they will mess with your head.
    There are people back at home;
    They just won’t understand what you’ve said.
    And you’re lucky to be at this school
    And in a bed!
    Just start counting our blessings!

  39. One of the members of my church graduated from PCC. He’s not hardcore PCC (he often jokes about the place with me), but he got us put on PCC’s mailing list. We get stuff from them all the time, and I have a very …. special place to file it all.

    😯 😈

  40. Human behavior always falls into recognizable and repeating patterns, even if the objects upon which those patterns iterate change. The consequences for deviation from the orders of Der Kommissar are a firing squad; the consequences of deviating from the orders of a Floor Leader are expulsion; but the basic social structures and patterns of behavior remain identical. You will see them in every human institution where unaccountable power exists, or where accountability is arbitrary and dependent on the personal relationships between supervisors and the supervised, not on rules or principles mediated and enforced by a neutral, disconnected, third party. (Even then, things are never perfect and humans will always show preference and partiality, but you improve the situation greatly, and that’s the best you can hope for.)

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