In 1978, I was a high school senior looking at colleges. Although I was a member of a conservative evangelical Christian church, I turned down a chance to go to a college associated with my church.
The reason? During a meeting with campus representatives, I read the student code of conduct. Among the rules was one that female students were not allowed to wear sun dresses with straps less than two inches wide. In disbelief, I asked the student representative and resident assistant who was there answering questions, “How do they enforce this? Do they *measure* them?” He said yes.
Then and there, I decided that I would pass on attending this school. I had no desire to dress immodestly. I had spent much of my childhood watching what alcohol abuse did to my parents: alcohol and drug abuse held no attraction. I wanted to be part of a community of fellow believers. However, I also had no desire to be treated by my college as an irresponsible teenager. So I picked a non-affiliated liberal arts college (Reed College in Portland, Oregon, if you’re interested) instead, and a few months later left home and my childhood behind and began my adult life.
Today I read in an article that a similar liberal arts college, Wesleyan University, has added some new rules to its 2011/2012 Academic Year Student Handbook. Among them are provisions forbidding participation in any organizations not recognized by the school, even if those are off-campus, make no use of Wesleyan facilities and are not supported by student fees. :/ I didn’t believe the blog that reported this at first, and so went to the Wesleyan web site and read it for myself.
The rules are outrageous. I applied for an early decision at Reed, and had already been accepted for enrollment by February 1979. If Reed had announced similar restrictions in their student handbook in 1979, however, I would have withdrawn my application and gone to a different school. I can’t imagine that today’s liberal arts students will find an academic nanny state any more acceptable that I would have.