Student Community Handbook – Lifestyle Standards

Living in Community – Lifestyle Standards

At Northwest University we place a great deal of importance on relationships and recognizing the need for responsible behavior. The covenant, which follows, is our description of the environment we seek to maintain. It is also your invitation to join us in a very special community experience. Should you have any questions about the covenant, please contact your Residence Hall Area Coordinator or other members of the Student Development professional staff.

Assumptions

  • Loving God is the primary motivation for healthy and holy living.
  • The Bible, as our authority, provides the essential principles for personal and community conduct.
  • God, through the Holy Spirit, enables the believer to live a holy and healthy life.
  • Christ came to restore relationships.

Responsibility for Relationships

For the purpose of our community we have identified the following specific expressions of love as being among the most desirable in our relationships.

Encouragement

We expect each member of the community to strive consciously to maintain positive relationships, which support, encourage, and help others.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (Romans 15:1-2)

Bearing with One Another

We are responsible to come alongside those experiencing grief, discouragement, illness, tragedy or other personal trial. Expressions of bearing one another’s burdens include comfort, consolation, and intercession. Because of our humanness, difficulties in relationships can occur. In such cases we are to respond as the Scripture states:

…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. (Colossians 3:12, 13a)

 Speaking the Truth in Love

Speaking the truth to each other in love can strengthen a community such as ours. Problems in relationships and behavior can be resolved constructively by confronting one another in an appropriate spirit. If the welfare of the one being confronted is paramount and if the confronter is acting in love, the process can produce growth.

Reconciliation, Restoration, and Restitution

Healing broken relationships is necessary for a healthy community. When relationships have been harmed, regardless of the reason, individuals are expected to reach out to one another, to forgive one another, to restore relationships and to make restitution. II Corinthians 5:18-19 states

…and He (Christ) gave us the ministry of reconciliation… and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Implementing the above expressions of love in relationships requires continual effort and sensitivity to others. Relationships of this quality enrich our lives, honor God, and assist in meeting the goals of the University.

Responsibility for Attitudes and Behaviors

Biblical Expectations

Scripture teaches that certain attributes are available to individuals through the Holy Spirit. These attributes include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. “Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-24 NIV). This “fruit of the Spirit” is to be sought, encouraged and demonstrated in our relationships. In contrast to encouraging these positive attributes of the heart, Scripture also prohibits certain attitudes which are sometimes difficult to discern, but result in behavior that hinders relationship with God and others. Certain behaviors are even expressly prohibited in Scripture and therefore are to be avoided by members of the University community.

University Expectations

Also in keeping with Biblical expectations, members of the Northwest University community voluntarily commit themselves to following campus community standards of behavior. This commitment results from the conviction that these standards serve the good of the individual as well as the institution. These Lifestyle standards are not set forth as absolutes or as an index of Christian spirituality, but rather as expectations of this community. Because of the importance of trust in and responsibility to one another, violations of these standards are regarded as a serious breach of integrity within the community.

In observance of scriptural admonitions to bring ourselves under the authority of government (Rom 9), members of the Northwest University community are expected to uphold the laws of the local community, the state of Washington and the nation. Behavior resulting in civil arrest on or off campus is subject to review within the University’s disciplinary procedures.

Building on Biblical and university expectations, Northwest University is committed to cultivate Christian conscientious freedom in the lives of its students. This approach to responsible freedom is characterized by carefully considered, Biblically guided decision-making in all areas of behavior, relationships, entertainment and spiritual formation. It takes into account the impact such decisions have on the community, seeking to respect both the historical church and current cultures. Responsible Freedom recognizes that Christians were called to be free not to indulge in sin, but rather to show respect to others and honor God with their life choices (Gal 5:13-14,1 Cor 6:20, 1 Pet 2:16-17).

Behavioral Expectations

As Christian scholars, we take responsibility for our academic work.Students are subject to the demands of academic integrity such as honesty and giving appropriate credit to sources. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty in any form is not allowed.

Corporate worship, fellowship and instruction are an integral part of a vibrant Christ-centered community.Students are expected to attend chapel. Regular attendance is understood as a mature response to our community goals. Chapel attendance is required.

 We celebrate our freedom and responsibility to worship.Students are to observe the Lord’s Day (Sunday) as a day set apart primarily for worship, fellowship, ministry and rest.  While activities such as recreation may be a part of the day, “business as usual” relative to University programs and services will not be sanctioned or encouraged except where absolutely necessary.

Our community embraces healthy Christian living through responsible freedom. Wise stewards exercise freedom responsibly in all aspects of living a healthy Christian life. Some lifestyle choices are prescriptive from the Bible while others are informed by perspective and tradition from across the broader faith community. The university recognizes the potential negative impact to one’s physical, psychological and developmental well-being in the use of certain products, specifically during the formative undergraduate years. Therefore, undergraduate students are to refrain from the use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in any form during their entire period of enrollment as a student. Informed by Biblically guided choices and the broader faith community, students enrolled in graduate or College of Adult Professional Studies programs will exercise responsible freedom and obey all civil laws regarding the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products.

The possession, use, consumption, manufacture, or distribution of any type of marijuana product and paraphernalia, controlled medication not prescribed by a healthcare provider, or illegal substance or its synthetic variation on University Property, in conjunction with any University-Sponsored Activities, or while enrolled as a student is specifically prohibited by Northwest University policy. Additional information about the alcohol and substances policy is available on the Northwest University Drug Free Schools and Communities Act web page.

Our bodies and our relationships are to remain sexually pure. We do not condone sexual relations before marriage or outside of marriage. Further, we do not condone homosexual behavior.

Our community strives to make life enhancing choices in entertainment.Students are expected to be selective in their choices of entertainment and recreation. All entertainment choices (e.g. television, video, movies, Internet, computer games, music, publications, etc.) should be limited to those which contribute to healthy spiritual, intellectual and social development of community members. Activities and entertainment that are of questionable value or diminish a person’s moral sensitivity should be avoided such as those that exhibit explicit violence or sexuality including the following.

  • R-rated movies are prohibited in University Housing.
  • Pornographic materials are not to be used, possessed, or distributed either on or off campus.
  • Social dancing is not permitted on campus. Undergraduate students patronizing or dancing in clubs or bars where alcohol is served is considered inappropriate and is not permitted. Performance or athletic choreography is permitted on campus by students involved in the public presentation of drama, music and cultural performances or scheduled classes.

A number of evangelical denominations have historically taken a stand against social dancing as an expression of their commitment to the Christ-exalting life.  Our community, considering itself in the mainstream of the evangelical tradition recognizes the temptations inherent in the sensuous and erotic nature of some social dancing.

In the spirit of Romans 14:19-23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, this community values that careful attention be given to not offend a fellow Christian by any action or behavior of its members, including decisions about entertainment.

We desire to be wise stewards of our resources. Gambling (exchange of money and goods by betting or wagering) is viewed as an unwise use of God-given resources, and therefore is prohibited in all forms on the university campus.

We are committed to the God given dignity of every individual.Therefore, each member of the community is expected to be sensitive to needs existing in our society and on our campus. Discrimination against others on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religious denomination or disability is not acceptable.

We are committed to a safe and nurturing community. Any kind of demeaning gesture, harassment, sexual harassment, threat of violence or physical attack is prohibited. Sexual Assault and Sexual Predation (the latter defined as any kind of sexual activity that is committed through coercion or manipulation–emotional, social, or by means of alcohol or other substances) will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Vandalism of property is also unacceptable. Students are expected to exercise moderation regarding public displays of affection.

Confession, repentance and forgiveness are the Biblical model to initiate restoration in all relationships.

Honesty, purity and holiness are cornerstones to integrity in leadership.Therefore, theft, lying, dishonesty, gossip, slander, profanity, vulgarity (including crude language), sexual promiscuity or its appearance (including adultery, homosexual behavior, premarital sexual behavior, or overnight mixed-gender company), drunkenness, immodesty of dress and occult practice are prohibited. Community members are expected to take responsibility for their own violations of all behavioral guidelines and demonstrate commitment to the value of integrity in word and deed. The Integrity Initiative as described in the Ministry of Discipline supports the opportunity for students to seek reconciliation for inappropriate behavior.

We dress to show respect for ourselves and our creator.Students are expected to wear clothing that is both modest and gender appropriate. Swimsuits, sports bras or other clothing that exposes midriffs may not be worn in common areas of the university campus. Clothing with slogans, logos, or pictures that are not in keeping with Christian values is not permitted. Students are expected to maintain good hygiene and wear shoes in common areas of the campus. Moderation should be exercised when wearing or applying body jewelry and body art.

Individual departments may maintain specific standards that apply to student appearance while participating in practicum, internships, performances or other university representation. Northwest University reserves the right to maintain standards of appearance for all students.

University technology is provided for educational purposes. The University holds the owner of the computer equipment responsible for how the equipment is used. The University reserves the right to monitor the entire University community to assure Internet users access appropriate Internet addresses. Modem use on campus is prohibited. All campus residents are subject to the Acceptable Use Policy.

Unhealthy Behavior

Our experience at Northwest has shown that certain practices or activities may potentially endanger or adversely affect the physical and emotional well being of many members of the university community. The purpose of the following section of regulations is to draw attention to the reckless and serious nature of these kinds of practices and activities and to describe the university’s position on them. In some cases we have listed consequences for these actions to underscore our concern for the welfare of each person at Northwest University.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Northwest University is committed to maintaining an environment in which all individuals treat each other with dignity and respect and which is free from all forms of intimidation, exploitation and any type of harassment, including, but not limited to that based upon gender, religion, age, disability, ethnicity, national origin, color, race or any other status protected under applicable local, state or federal law. It is the policy of the University to prohibit harassment of any person by any of its employees or students. This includes hazing, rights of initiation, harassing pranks, and publicly insulting another person with abusive words or gestures. Also included is the use of telephones, United States or campus mail, or e-mail for the purpose of issuing obscene, harassing, or threatening messages.

Sexual Harassment

It is illegal and against the University’s policy for any student or employee, male or female, to engage in actions that sexually harass another student, prospective student, employee, prospective employee, vendor, visitor or other person by:

  • Making unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature a condition of academic requirements or continued employment;
  • Making submission to, or rejection of, such conduct the basis for academic decisions or employment affecting the student;
  • Stating or implying that a particular student’s advances in academic or employment performance has resulted from the granting of sexual favors or the establishment or continuance of a sexual relationship (or similar statements with respect to others);
  • Stating or implying that a particular student’s deficiencies in performance are attributable in whole or in part to the gender of that person;
  • Negatively commenting on particular characteristics associated with a particular gender; or
  • Engaging in conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a student’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic, student life, or working environment by such conduct or comments.

The conduct prohibited may be verbal, visual, or physical in nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, physical touching, or the granting or withholding of benefits (e.g. grades, absence excuse, account credit, petition approval, etc.) in response to sexual contact. More subtle forms of inappropriate behavior such as offensive posters, cartoons, caricatures, comments, and jokes of a sexual nature are prohibited, as they may constitute sexual harassment when they contribute to a hostile or offensive work, academic, or student life environment.

Racial Harassment

Racial harassment is any flagrant and/or repetitious verbal or physical behavior that stigmatizes or victimizes an individual or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, or ancestry. Racial harassment includes, but is not limited to objectionable epithets, demeaning depictions or treatment, intimidating language or behavior, and threatened or actual abuse. Protection against racial harassment is provided in both state and federal law.

Hazing

Hazing is not permitted at Northwest University. Hazing is defined as subjecting a fellow student or fellow students to abusive or humiliatingpranks (e.g., initiations, responses to engagements, “kidnappings,” etc.) It is often difficult to distinguish between hazing and a “just for fun” prank among friends. Therefore, Student Development staff reserve the right to interpret the definition of hazing. Any student participating in either a “just for fun prank” or in a deliberate hazing activity will be held responsible for his/her behavior. Regardless of motive or intent, any student participating in a prank-type activity, which potentially endangers or adversely affects the physical and/or emotional well being of another student may expect immediate and serious disciplinary action including the possibility of suspension or dismissal.

Complaint Procedure for Harassment

If you believe you have witnessed or been the victim of someone else’s violent or destructive behavior (for instance, date rape or other forms of sexual assault, assault, harassment), contact a counselor in the counseling center, your Area Coordinator, or your Resident Assistant. When possible, and if a student desires, an informal resolution (such as counseling or change of circumstances) will be sought. In those cases when an informal resolution is not desired, possible, or expedient, the student may initiate a formal grievance procedure. However, recognizing that additional measures may be required to protect the rights of college students who claim to have been victimized as a result of violent and destructive behavior, the university may implement changes in procedural standards:

  1. Follow-up conversations with the accused may be handled by a member of the University staff, and will not necessarily require that the victim be present.
  2. The victim may be informed of sanctions taken against the accused, in accordance with provisions of the Campus Security Act.
  3. Every reasonable effort will be made to protect the complainant from additional harm.

Fire Alarms and Equipment

Tampering with fire alarms, hoses, extinguishers and other protection equipment is against state law and may result in discipline sanctions. Lighting fixture in corridors, stairways and outside the residence hall is part of the system of protection including “exit” signs and “exit” lights.

Firearms and Weapons

Northwest University students are prohibited from possessing or storing on any university property, campus or site (including in vehicles on Northwest University property) ammunition, detonating and explosive devices, bows, crossbows and arrows, fixed blade knives, knives with blades greater than three inches, swords, firearms, and other edged weapons, devices that utilize aerosol or compressed air canisters to shoot projectiles of any type, sling shots, air-soft guns, BB guns, pellet guns, paintball guns and martial arts weapons. Any student who stores a firearm/weapon in any location on the university campus (including vehicles) makes a public display of a weapon or replica weapon and/or discharges a firearm/weapon on the property of Northwest University, is subject to university sanctions including or up to dismissal from the University. This policy is intended for the protection of university community members and is not intended to interfere with academic instruction or provided services.

Hall Safety

In order to provide for the safety of residents and visitors alike, students are not to prop doors open after they have been locked by security.  Violations will result in a $100 fine and the possibility of additional university sanctions. Repeated violations may result in suspension and potential dismissal.

Pregnancy Statement

Scripture urges believers to seek wise and Godly counsel when faced with significant or difficult life choices. Therefore, should a Northwest University student become pregnant while unmarried, the students involved are encouraged to communicate with the Dean of Community Life, the Health Services Nurse or Counseling office staff. These offices are prepared to stand with both the mother and the father as they consider the results of their actions, deal with the consequences, and experience the forgiveness that comes through repentance.

The university is committed to responding in a redemptive manner, seeking to balance compassion with accountability. Students can expect to be treated with Christian love as they deal with their new circumstances. Every effort will be made to ensure confidentiality, but the life and health of the mother and child and the spiritual well-being of the parents are our primary concerns. While some students in these circumstances may choose to leave the university temporarily, it is our hope that any student who chooses to continue in classes during pregnancy will find Northwest University to be a supportive and redemptive community during this crucial time.

Student Policy Publication

Keeping our community standards also requires adherence to all the additional rules/standards as outlined in this handbook along with any published University policies, rules or regulations (online or in print) including but not limited to:

Covenant Community

We, the Northwest University community, desire to be a covenant community of Christians marked by integrity, responsible freedom, and dynamic, Christ-like love; a place where the name of Jesus Christ is honored in all we do. This requires that each of us keeps his or her word by taking the commitment to these Lifestyle Standards seriously as covenant keepers, whatever pressures we may face to do otherwise.

The issue of keeping one’s word is for a Christian an important one. Being faithful to one’s word is a matter of simple integrity and Godliness. “Lord, who may live on your holy hill?” asks thePsalmist. “He who keeps his oath, even when it hurts” (Ps 15:4), comes the reply. Christian integrity dictates that since we have voluntarily placed ourselves under Northwest’s Lifestyle Standards, we must make every effort to fulfill our commitment by living accordingly.

Keeping our word may also on occasion require that we take steps to hold one another accountable, confronting one another in love as we work together to live in faithfulness both to God’s Word and to our own word. Such loving acts of confrontation are at times difficult, but when performed in the right spirit (Gal. 6:1), they serve to build godly character for both the individuals involved and the community as a whole (Matt. 18:15-17). Only in this way, as we are willing to speak the truth in love, will we “grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Eph. 4:15).

 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, . . . And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

(Colossians 3:16-17)