Responsibilities of Membership in the Community
Trinity Western University is a Christian university distinguished by a clear mission:
Preamble: The mission of Trinity Western University, as an arm of the church, is to develop godly Christian leaders: positive, goal-oriented university graduates with thoroughly Christian minds; growing disciples of Jesus Christ who glorify God through fulfilling The Great Commission, serving God and people in the various marketplaces of life.
In order to accomplish this mission, members of the community need to engage in an unhindered pursuit of knowledge, personal growth, and spiritual maturity (Heb 12:1-3). Consequently, the University strives to maintain a distinctly Christian living and learning environment conducive to a rigorous study of the liberal arts and sciences from the perspective of a biblical worldview.
Membership in the Trinity Western community is obtained through application and invitation. Those who accept an invitation to join the community agree to uphold its standards of conduct. In return, they gain the privilege of enjoying the benefits of community membership and undertake to work for the best interests of the whole community (Phi 2:4).
Compliance with these standards is simply one aspect of a larger commitment by students, staff, and faculty to live together as responsible citizens, to pursue biblical holiness, and to follow an ethic of mutual support, Christian love in relationships, and to serve the best interests of each other and the entire community.
Individuals who are invited to become members of this community but cannot with integrity pledge to uphold the application of these standards are advised not to accept the invitation and to seek insteading-learning situation more acceptable to them.
Core Values and Responsibilities of Membership
The Responsibilities of Membership reflect our University's core values and help preserve its distinctly Christian character. These core values include:
- The inspiration and authority of the Bible. Members of the community voluntarily submit to its teaching.
- The pursuit of personal holiness. Members of the community strive to live distinctly Christian lives.
- The University's mission. Members of the community are determined to let nothing stand in the way of becoming "godly Christian leaders."
The community. Members of the community place the welfare of the community above their personal preferences. These core values are easily transformed into principles of Christian conduct or Responsibilities of Membership that all members of the community are expected to follow. Because the Responsibilities of Membership are intended to reflect a preferred lifestyle for those who belong to this community rather than "campus rules," they apply both on and off campus. All members of the community are responsible to: 1)Conduct themselves as responsible citizens; 2) Engage in an honest pursuit of biblical holiness; 3) Make the University's mission their own mission; 4)Limit the exercise of their Christian liberty in accordance with the University's mission and the best interest of other members of the community.
Application of the Responsibilities of Membership to Students
It is recognized that not every student will have personal convictions wholly in accord with the following application of these standards. However, all students are responsible to:
- Obey the law and conduct themselves as responsible citizens who contribute to the welfare of the greater community (Rom 13:1-7). Among other things, this precludes the use of marijuana and drugs for non-medical purposes and conduct that disrupts classes or the general operation of the University. It also includes demonstrating respect for the property of others and of the University.
- Show respect, love and consideration for others. We believe that, without exception, every human being is a valuable person created by God in His image (Gen 1:26-27) and thus possesses inherent dignity, and we are called to love and treat every person with genuine respect. Therefore, members of the community are expected to act with kindness and positive regard for the well being of each person, and to practice respect for all people at all stages of life. This manner of living obeys Jesus' commandment to show love for others (Joh 13:34-35) echoed by the Apostle Paul (Rom 14:1, 1Co 8,13). It is evidenced by making a habit of encouraging and building up others, showing compassion, demonstrating unselfishness, and displaying patience. Harassment of any person, whether or not a member of the community, is not acceptable. Differences of opinion on any issue are not only permissible, but are expected, and frequently encouraged as part of the educational process. However, dialogue about differences is always to be conducted with reason, consideration for the feelings of others, and recognition of TWU as a unique, faith-affirming community called to serve within the diverse society in which we live.
- Refrain from practices that are contrary to biblical teachings. These include, but are not limited to, drunkenness (Eph 5:18) and other forms of substance abuse, swearing or use of profane language (Eph 4:29, 5:4; Jam 3:1-12), harassment (Joh 13:34-35, Rom 12:9-21; Eph 4:31), all forms of dishonesty including cheating, stealing and misrepresentation (Pro 12:22, Col 3:9, Eph 4:28), abortion (Exo 20:13, Psa 139:13-16), involvement in the occult (Act 19:19, Gal 5:19), and viewing of pornography (1Co 6:12-20, Eph 4:17-24, 1Th 4:3-8, Rom 2:26-27, 1Ti 1:9-10).
- Observe biblical principles for marriage and sexual relationships. Members of the TWU community agree to respect the biblical teaching that sexual intimacy is to be practiced only within the context of marriage between a husband and a wife (Gen 2:23-24) and to keep their sexual behaviour consistent with this teaching. Also, married members of the community agree to respect and maintain the sanctity of marriage and to take every positive step to resolve conflict and avoid divorce.
Utilize careful judgment in the exercise of personal freedom (Gal 5:16-6:10, Rom 12:1-15:13, 1Co 8:9-13 and 13:1-13, Eph 4:17-6:18, Col 3:1-4:6, 1Th 4:1-5:24). This entails the responsible use of time and material resources and the honest pursuit of knowledge, including regular attendance at classes, chapel services, and University events. It also requires that members of the community abstain from the use or possession of alcoholic beverages, tobacco in any form, other forms of substance abuse, all forms of gambling, and that members of the community maintain modest, inoffensive behavior in personal relationships. Co-ed living arrangements are not suitable for unmarried Trinity Western students.
Furthermore, because many contemporary forms of amusement are of questionable value or diminish one’s moral sensitivities, members of the community are to use discernment in their choice of entertainment including television, movies, live productions, and social dancing. Keep in mind that social dancing is not permitted on campus, nor may dances be sponsored by University or student groups. Furthermore, the University does not condone dancing at clubs where alcohol is liberally consumed, discretion in the choice of music is not exercised, and the overall atmosphere is questionable.
This application of the Responsibilities of Membership is not offered as a legalistic definition of right and wrong. Rather, it provides concrete examples of a commitment to the mission of Trinity Western University and a commitment to fellow members of this academic community. Certain expectations may not be commanded by Scripture, but nonetheless, they are desirable and essential if all members of the community are to achieve their personal goals. Consequently, all students are required to commit themselves to follow this application of the Responsibilities of Membership and maintain the integrity of that commitment.