An Open Letter to the Student Body

We have an issue on campus that I feel we as students need to address.  It plagues our community and breeds contempt.  The issue can be found across campus in the dorms, halls, tunnels, SDR, common areas, and even in classrooms.  No, I’m not referring to Moody couples (a bit of humour).  In all seriousness, I am talking about respect.  Rather, the lack of respect we as students seem to have for our faculty and administration.  In frustration we complain about assignments, timing of tests and big papers, teaching styles, the difficulty of courses, and course scheduling.  We lament over opinions that differ from ours.  One thing leads to another and it turns into us tearing the professors apart.  Tearing apart their character and value as professors and human beings.  More recently, I’ve heard students disrespect professors to their faces whether this is through social media or even face to face.  Taking it further, we complain over seeming injustice when the administration makes decisions that make us (as students) feel as if we aren’t getting what we deserve.  We don’t get approved for off-campus housing, getting off the meal plan, or institutional scholarships.  While there may be valid reasons for us wanting these items to be approved, for reasons we don’t understand we don’t get what we want.  This ends with us bashing the administration.  We blame Moody for our woes and sorrows while we stew in our entitlement.

I don’t write this in innocence.  I too have fallen and given into the temptation to complain, bash, and tear apart.  I’m not a perfect student by any means.  However, this issue has weighed heavily on my heart and mind over the last three years, more so recently, and I have wrestled through how to approach this subject.  For me, the temptation to slander is there, but is something that I am working on.  Students, when did we forget that the professors have been studying for years.  They have Master’s degrees and PhDs.  More than that they have more life experience and with that comes unique stories and understandings.  Beyond this fact, they are people too.  We have world class faculty that we have the honour of studying under.  They are highly educated and brilliant people to be sure, but even greater still is how caring and relational they are.  I cannot affirm this quality in every professor on a personal level (I am but one student studying in one department), but each professor I have encountered over the last three years has demonstrated this relational drive.  We have faculty that are willing to sit down with us personally, answer our questions (beyond the academics), and come along side us in caring ways.  This is not the case at most universities and institutions, even those that are Christian as well.  Most of our professors (if not all) are willing to mentor and disciple students in areas outside of academia as well as academically.  Their heartbeats for the student body are one of the greatest qualities that sets Moody apart.  I may not agree 100% with everything professors have to say.  But that is a part of life.  We will never agree 100% with anyone.  I may not agree with everything, but I still respect and honour these men of women of God regardless of my own beliefs.  Sometimes, I must accept that I (or even they) may be misguided or wrong, and that is perfectly okay.  None of us is perfect.  We are all sinners that by the grace of God above are united as the Body of Christ, but every single one of us has areas where God is working on us.  We often forget that our professors are still people too and will not be perfect.

Now to address our relationship with the administration.  I work on campus and have seen different perspectives on student-administration, administration-student relationships.  I can say none of us are innocent in this area of conflict.  The tension is present (whether we all feel it or not).  Looking purely from the perspective of a student trying to communicate with other students, I will stick with this.  We might not love or even like the SLG.  We may not like or agree with decisions made regarding housing, meal plans, classes, or the like.  But we signed and agreed to the SLG.  We chose to study at Moody for one reason or another.  I believe that at least 98% of students can say that they chose to study at Moody, they were not forced to come here.  We are under a tuition-paid model (praise the Lord), but with that comes great strictures.  I may not like that starting next semester, I will have to pay to audit classes or pay full price for credits outside of my major.  But I still respect the decision regardless of whether I like it or not.  I may not see the bigger picture, but I pray that they know better than I do and trust their decision.  This is only one example, but I feel you get my point.  As I said about professors, those in administrative roles are human as well and will not always make perfect choices, but they still deserve respect from us because of the positions they hold above us as students.

So why am I writing this?  That is a valid question.  I would hope that we could start to have real discussions about issues such as these, without getting defensive or being hateful.  I’m not pointing fingers at specific individuals.  Like I said, I’m not perfect either and I still fall into the temptation to speak poorly from time to time.  But I think this issue is something we need to consider.  I’d like to see us having real discussions with our friends, roommates, floors, and as a student body as a whole.  Especially with class registration this week, I think we all (myself included) could use this reminder.  If you would like to add to the conversation, I would encourage it.  However, I would ask that roasting and tearing people down be left out of it.  That is not a good example of healthy communication (which is a whole other topic).  Dear brothers and sisters, I end this with a question for you to consider.  How can we work to better our community by addressing this issue of respect?

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