Returning to the school year always means a few things for Vanguard students; we scramble to pay for parking passes, find the cheapest copy of our textbooks, and put together an appropriate outfit for the All-School Party. Somewhere in the heat of all this, we sign the Vanguard Student Handbook so that we may continue to participate in the thrilling life of a college student.
Your Student Handbook can be found in the “Waivers” tab of your Self-Service portal, under the link titled “Code of Conduct.” You can also find it at Vanguard.edu under “Student Life.”
When asked about the code of conduct, an anonymous student disclosed, “I never read it. I don’t have time for that.” For a long time, I held the same view. With the Student Handbook reaching 68 pages, it felt like too daunting a task when there were other things to be done.
However as I entered my final year as a Vanguard student, I had on overwhelming curiosity to dive into the contract I had been signing for the past three years. And in my search, I discovered one rule that surprised me the most.
Under the title “Dancing Policy” (28), the Vanguard Student Handbook reads, “Social Dancing is not allowed on Vanguard University’s campus; it is however permitted at University-sponsored off-campus events.”
From my understanding, this means that students would be breaking the Code of Conduct if they participate in social dancing on-campus, or off-campus at an event that is not University-sponsored.
Although this rule may seem silly at first, it opened up an interesting topic of debate. Are some of the rules in the Student Handbook taken more seriously than others?
Firstly, we must ask if anyone is written up for “social dancing.” On Aug. 31, the Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion put on a disco to welcome back the Vanguard students. This took place on Heath Lawn, with a great DJ and a crowd of students excitedly on the dance floor. It seems that students do not need to worry about breaking code of conduct when dancing on-campus.
Maybe Vanguard enforces the rule when it comes to students dancing off-campus at non-school events? However, any student at Vanguard knows that there are quite a few weddings that take place among the student population—where there is likely to be celebratory dancing. It is also a well-known pastime for Vanguard students to go off campus to enjoy some line dancing. In all these instances, there have not been students written up for dancing.
Vanguard being a Christian University, accredited by The Assemblies of God, there are obviously certain standards that must be upheld. It is important to keep Christ and the Bible at the center of our Student Handbook. However we must ask ourselves, what message are we sending by only enforcing some rules.
We sign this contract at the beginning of the year, and Vanguard expects us to uphold it; however, when there are some rules that hold more weight than others—or perhaps rules that are not taken seriously—students may not know which lines they are “allowed” to cross. I do not suggest that Vanguard starts writing up students for dancing, I just wonder why the rule remains in the Code of Conduct. Maybe it is time to take a look at the Student Handbook and check for any rules that have aged themselves into irrelevancy.